Sydney: India risks paying a US$2.3 million fine for suspending its tour of Australia, and this has probably led the Board of Control for Cricket in India to order the Indian team to remain in Sydney, rather than travel to Canberra as scheduled, pending the outcome of an appeal against Harbhajan Singh's three-Test suspension for racially abusing Andrew Symonds.
BCCI bigwigs are meeting in New Delhi 'morrow to determine the next course of action.
Under ICC rules, member countries are obliged to fulfil their tour contracts except when the security of the players is at risk or the touring team's government orders that the tour should not proceed. India could also be liable to reimburse Cricket Australia for any losses incurred.
Relations between the two sides reached a new low after Australia retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by snatching a last-minute victory in the second Test on Sunday night.
The Indian players and management were incensed by the poor standard of umpiring, most of which favoured the home team, and Indian captain Anil Kumble revived echoes of the Bodyline controversy when he accused the Australians of not playing in the spirit of the game.
The BCCI today issued an indignant statement deploring the slur cast on Harbhajan and the Indian nation.
"Unfair allegation of racism against our Indian player is wholly unacceptable," The Australian quoted BCCI president Sharad Pawar, who is also a senior government minister, as saying.
"The game of cricket is paramount, but so too is the honour of India's cricket team and every Indian.
"The BCCI is committed to protect the country's fair name. India's national commitment is against racism. Our national struggle is based on values which negate racism. BCCI will fight this false and unfair slur cast on our player," Pawar said.