Harbhajan is targeted again!March 3rd, 2008 - 10:18 am ICT by admin
By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, March 3 (IANS) The Indian cricket team management Monday strongly condemned reports in some Australia’s Fairfax newspapers which quoted a spectator as saying Harbhajan Singh had motioned to scratch his armpits and spat at the crowd. Standing by the spinner, team manager Bimal Soni said the bowler had done nothing wrong. Soni told the media: “I think it is wrong. Nothing has been done like that. They are making a mountain out of a molehill. He did nothing. These stories, I do not believe them and I strongly condemn them.”
Fairfax newspapers publish the The Age, which said, “More Harbhajan monkey madness” and The Sydney Morning Herald and Brisbane Times, which said, “Harbhajan in hot water again, up to his armpits”.
The latest sledging row in this very controversial tour was not distracting the winning Indian team as they left for Brisbane to play the second of the best of three finals at the Gabba Tuesday.
Soni said: “We do not talk about it. We only talk about the cricket on the field and we do not want to talk anything about these things.”
Harbhajan was banned for three Tests after Australian players gave evidence that he called all-rounder Andrew Symonds a monkey during the second Test at the SCG in early January. His charge was reduced on appeal to abusive language.
The monkey talk began at the Wankhade Stadium in Mumbai last October when four Indian fans were ejected for making monkey gestures at Symonds.
Not just the Indian team management, but former Australian captain Allan Border has also come to Harbhajan’s defence.
He told the media: “I was over that side of the ground and Harbhajan was copping a fair bit of stick from the crowd. I didn’t notice any gestures at all and I thought he handled himself pretty well. I’m not so sure how serious it is.”
On a day when fans were treated to a splendid century from master batsman Sachin Tendulkar and near perfect cricket, it’s probably time to move from controversy to cricket.
Border was quoted in the media as saying that it was a shame that a great century by Tendulkar was being overshadowed by “a few bits of silliness in the outfield. It’s not a big deal”.
Tags: abusive language, allan border, Andrew Symonds, armpits, australian captain, bhandari, controversial tour, fairfax newspapers, gabba, harbhajan singh, indian cricket team, indian fans, master batsman, molehill, monkey talk, scg, second test, sydney march, sydney morning herald, team management