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Harbhajan slapped with 11 match ban.......

Harbhajan suspended after 'slap'
Sun Apr 27, 2008 . NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Indian board suspended spinner Harbhajan Singh on Saturday pending a disciplinary hearing into a slapping incident involving compatriot Shanthakumaran Sreesanth in an Indian Premier League (IPL) game.

Harbhajan Singh Sreesanth Just before a boxing bout, the contestants warmly shake hands; then, they go about breaking each other's noses and bones. In soccer, the niceties are usually left for the end; during the playing time, though, almost anything is seen as par for the course. 

This artificial show of player-camaraderie hit an amazing high on Friday night in a game apparently played by gentlemen for gentlemen: even as the victors and vanquished were ruefully shaking hands, Harbhajan Singh punched (yes punched in true WWE style, not slapped!) India teammate but IPL rival S Sreesanth. 

If Harbhajan Singh and Sree Santh are around, can controversies be far behind? If they are on the same team, one can imagine the plight of the opposition. Friday night offered an ugly glimpse of what could happen when in the two are in opposite camps. The skeptics have dubbed T20 cricket as a big tamasha (farce). Some have called it bikini cricket while others have refused to take it seriously. But the tamacha (slap) episode proves that despite its slam-bang format with cheerleaders in tow, it is played in all seriousness with millions of rupees and pride at stake for the teams.

The stand-in Mumbai India captain, of course, explained the entire thing as no big deal. ‘‘A lot of things happen in a family,'' he explained to reporters. Yeah, right. ‘‘We have sorted it all out. And everything is fine now,'' he added. Of course. Just like it is between him and Symonds, or him and Ponting, or... 

A visibly shaken Sreesanth too agreed that everything was normal. As if he had a choice, especially with Big Brother Tendulkar watching and Team India's harmony at stake. What all this means, however, is that everything was not normal between the two before the family battles hit national television in the form of tears. 

Television pictures showed Sreesanth sobbing after his Mohali team defeated Mumbai, who were captained by Harbhajan in the absence of the injured Sachin Tendulkar.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Niranjan Shah said the spinner was asked to explain his actions before a later statement announced the suspension.

Sreesanth "Based evidence as seen and 
reviewed by match adjudicator and referee 
Farokh Engineer, a decision has been reached to 
suspend with immediate effect Harbhajan Singh of the 
Mumbai Indians pending an inquiry into the incident on 
Monday," said IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.
Farokh Engineer FINAL VERDICT
The hearing will be held in New Delhi and a final verdict announced by Farokh Engineer.

ICC Code of Conduct 
The BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty said that it was not a matter that could be sorted out between the two players. “Harbhajan Singh is a contracted player of the BCCI. The ICC Code of Conduct is applicable to him. The Board’s Disciplinary Committee will take the necessary action,” he said.

Under the ICC Code, assault on a player, official or spectator is a Level 4 offence and if the charge is proved, it can attract a “ban of between 5 Test Matches or 10 ODI matches up to a life ban for the player or official concerned.”
Mr. Shetty said that the IPL sanction would be restricted to IPL matches, but the BCCI’s action would be independent of the IPL decision since Harbhajan and Sreesanth were contracted players.

Harbhajan Singh Prifile

The Punjab team formally lodged a complaint on Saturday. Clarifying the same the IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi said, “I have officially received a complaint from the team management of the Punjab Kings XI. The complaint has been forwarded to the Match Referee for a detailed inquiry into this.”

The team’s CEO Neil Maxwell told newspersons here, “it was a considered decision of the team to lodge a complaint after a team meeting today. It is not our intention to get anyone into unnecessary trouble. But the team has made the decision in the interest of cricket.”

“The BCCI has taken serious note of the incident between Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth at Mohali yesterday,” BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said in a release on Saturday.

Disciplinary action 

“The BCCI condemns the behaviour of Harbhajan Singh as a contracted player of the Board and he is called upon to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him. He has been asked for clarification by Monday evening (April 28),” the release added.

The turn of events in Friday’s post-match incidents was not very clear, but apparently what precipitated matters were the Sreesanth’s gesticulations to some of the rival players when they came to bat.

During the media conference late on Friday night Harbhajan said he would ‘only talk cricket.’ Punjab skipper Yuvraj Singh and coach Tom Moody described the incident as ‘ugly’ and ‘totally unacceptable,’ but chose not to elaborate. “Harbhajan came to our dressing room and apologised to Sreesanth,” revealed Yuvraj.

Later, Sreesanth said that everything was ‘normal’ between Harbhajan and him. “It all in the game,” he said.

No slapping’ 

At the hotel, Sreesanth and Harbhajan spoke separately and interestingly, denied the ‘slapping’ incident. “It was not really a slap — the shake-hand was in the wrong place. Whatever happened should not have happened. But I am fine with it now,” said Sreesanth.

Harbhajan said he only ‘pushed’ Sreesanth. “I told him I am sorry if I hurt you. After all, we have played a lot of cricket together and there is plenty more to be played. Whatever happened, it was between us. As far as Sreesanth and I are concerned, we are over with it.”

Our Mumbai Special Correspondent reports 

Harbhajan’s fate will be decided by the BCCI’s disciplinary committee consisting of President Sharad Pawar, President-elect Shashank Manohar (Vidarbha Cricket Association) and Vice-President, Chirayu Amin (Baroda Cricket Association).

Though Sreesanth has denied he was slapped by Harbhajan, it has been brought to the notice of the BCCI officials that a few Mumbai Indians players informed Sachin Tendulkar that Harbhajan had slapped Sreesanth.


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