Emotions spill over after Bhajji~~s ban

Published: Monday, January 7, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Melbourne: The three Test ban on the fiery spinner Harbhajan Singh has sunk Indian team's Australian tour to new lows.

Harbhajan Singh has been banned for racially abusing Australia's Andrew Symonds on the third day of the Sydney Test. He is alleged to have called Andrew Symonds a 'monkey' as both cricketers had an on-field spat.

India has lodged an appeal against the ban on the Sikh tweaker known for his combative attitude and combustible temper.

While Indian cricket officials have ruled out abandoning the tour, the tension between the two sides has reached unprecedented levels.

The usually placid and mild-mannered Indian captain Anil Kumble is not mincing words while leading the criticism of the Australian tactics.

He lashed out on the Australians for bringing the game to disrepute and for not playing the game in the right spirit in the post match press conference at SCG yesterday.

The Australian media is in overdrive with reports of severe criticism the way Australian team conducted itself to secure a record-equalising 16th consecutive Test win against India.

Conduct of the Aussie captain Ricky Ponting has also been criticised by several columnists for the way in which he conducted himself throughout the contentious Test.

The ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) umpire Mike Procter has come at a time when the Indian contingent was still coming to terms with a spate of bad umpiring decisions robbing them of 'satisfactory' result for the Sydney Test.

The ban, announced late yesterday at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), has practically ended the Australian tour for Harbhajan who has been denying he used any offensive words against Andrew Symonds.

The ICC umpire decision is being seen as an added humiliation to the Indian team which was a clear victim of bad umpiring decisions by Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson.

Indian officials are believed to have lodged a strong protest with the ICC for bad decisions which marred otherwise closely-contested Test.

According to the media reports, Steve Bucknor would not officiate at next week"s Perth Test starting on Wednesday.


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