I have lost my mental peace: Harbhajan

Published: Wednesday, May 11, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Jalandhar:Harbhajan Singh today slammed the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the confusion over the legality of his bowling action, claiming that the episode had destroyed his mental peace.

Harbhajan, who was reported for suspect action twice in the space of three months this season, said the saga has distracted him from the game and even affected his performance during the recent Pakistan series.

"You see, it is very frustrating for me as I have lost my mental peace for no fault of mine but just due to mere drama by ICC. Instead of concentrating on the game, I am just passing time to wait for clearance from ICC," the off-spinner told PTI in an interview.

Harbhajan, who underwent a review in 1998, was reported in December on the tour of Bangladesh and again in March during the series against Pakistan.

Under the revamped bowling review process, he has to undergo a test by biomechanics expert within 21 days of reporting but the ICC had delayed the appointment of a panel.

Harbhajan said he could have performed better against Pakistan if he had not been under the spotlight after being reported at the end of second Test.

"My performance during Indo-Pak series was affected due to the allegations (and) I could not fully concentrate on the game due to disturbed mental status," he said.

"It does not matter how much strong you are, but such a controversy always affect your performance," Harbhajan said.

The 24-year-old spinner termed as "unjustified" the provision in the rules for the umpires or referees to call or report a bowler although he was cleared before.

"How many times a bowler will have to undergo the test, for which he has already been cleared," the Pubjab bowler said.

"I am playing international cricket for the last seven years and it is really frustrating that you have to undergo the test every time, whenever you are pointed out for the same suspect action."

Harbhajan was an agitated man when asked if he found himself lucky that he was not banned as per the ICC regulations for being reported second time within 12 months of the first report.

The ICC had said that the second reporting of his action would be treated as a new case and the first under the revamped system which came into effect from March.

"Reporting a bowler for suspected action does not make him guilty," he said.

"Earlier I was reported for my action but was cleared in the test conducted on me. Where is the question of mine being lucky, rather it was injustice being done to me by reporting for the same suspicion for which I have already been cleared."

Harbhajan said the recent change in the bowling review rules permitting all bowlers to straighten their arm up to 15 degrees at the point of delivery was beneficial for every bowler, "not only for me".

"As per research, most of the fast bowlers bend their arm more than the permissible degree of 15. Why only 'doosra' is being targeted when rule is meant for everyone?"

He said the ICC was witch hunting.

"Earlier the ICC was after (Sri Lankan off-spinner) Muthiah Muralitharan, now they are after me, and later on some other bowler will be their target," he said.

He said the delay in clearance by the ICC also kept him away from playing in the English county championship this summer.

"I wanted to participate in English county championship, but in such a state of mind how will I be able to do justice to the game and the club which I am going to represent."

"Apart from the county, my mental status does not allow me to practice even," he said.

Asked if he sought permission from the ICC to play in the English county, Harbhajan said "why should I ask the ICC and where is the need?"

"It was just because of my mental status that I am not playing county, and if I wanted to play, there was no need to seek permission from the ICC for the same."

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