Ex-ICC chief Speed’s book reveals India-Oz Monkeygate ‘collusion’

April 8th, 2011 - 2:09 pm ICT by ANI  

Harbhajan Singh Melbourne, Apr. 8 (ANI): Former International Cricket Council boss Malcolm Speed has published a letter in which the Indian and Australian boards are accused of colluding in a way that could have been ‘disastrous for cricket’ at the height of the ‘Monkeygate’ scandal.

In his new memoirs, Speed says India’s wealth and power can be a great advantage for cricket, but they must be used responsibly. His warning coincides with India confirming its superpower status, with the world’s No. 1 Test nation lifting the World Cup in Mumbai last weekend, and ahead of an Indian tour next summer that will generate media rights worth between five and six times more to Cricket Australia than England’s Ashes visit.

Speed reproduces, in part, a letter from Justice John Hansen, the judge appointed to hear the Harbhajan Singh appeal after he was accused of racially abusing Andrew Symonds during the Sydney Test of January 2008.

The letter reveals the lengths CA went to preserve its relationship with the Board of Control for Cricket in India and, as Speed puts it, ‘the willingness of [India's] administrators to use their financial muscle when national pride is at stake’.

Justice Hansen wrote in a letter to Speed: ‘Although both boards would deny it, BCCI and CA were having discussions behind the scenes to resolve matters. Indeed, they presented me with an agreed statement of facts and a consent order that they expected me to rubber-stamp. In my view the consequences of such a course of action would have been disastrous for cricket. In any event, their actions undermined the independence of the Code of Conduct Commissioner, were unbecoming, and in my view, contrary to the spirit of cricket.’

India infamously threatened to pull out of the tour, which would have caused a financial catastrophe for CA, and the ‘agreed statement of facts’ (signed by Harbhajan, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, Symonds, Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden and Sachin Tendulkar) made no mention of the alleged racial taunt, ‘big monkey’.

‘The agreed statement had significantly watered down the version of events that had been given previously,’ Speed writes in his book, Sticky Wicket.

A CA spokesman said: “We are not about to trawl over old ground or make any further comment on the matter other than to say that CA did not at any stage agree to any lesser charge and, on the contrary, ensured that the agreed set of facts was noted in order to ensure the judge could independently assess that matter in accordance with appropriate judicial procedures.’

Speed said he hoped to correct misconceptions about the scandal, which left Australian players feeling furious and let down.

They assumed Harbhajan would be banned even without the mention of racism, but an administrative error meant Justice Hansen was not made aware of three prior offences and he was fined 50 per cent of his match fee.

Speed recalls his own reaction to the mistake. ‘I kicked my desk when I heard about it, hurting my foot and doing no damage whatsoever to its sturdy Dubai-manufactured composite timber frame.’ (ANI)

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |