Sydney Row: It takes two to tango, says K(H)umble

Published: Friday, January 11, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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London: India and Australia can put their controversial Sydney Test behind them when they meet again in the third match of the series at Perth next week, says India skipper Anil Kumble.

However, Kumble hinted in an article in Friday's edition of The Times that may not be a simple task in the wake of Harbhajan Singh's three-match ban after being found guilty of racially abusing Australia's Andrew Symonds.

Spinner Harbhajan has denied making racist remarks during last week's second Test and lodged an appeal, while India's cricket board suspended the tour for two days in protest.

"One of the reasons I have tried to put the game and other things in perspective is to ensure that we move on and play good cricket," Kumble wrote in The Times.

"I'll do my best but it takes two to tango and ensure that things move smoothly. I can only hope it happens."

Kumble said he had offered an apology to Aussie skipper for the incident at Sydney but made it clear he had not accepted that a racism comment had actually been made.

"When I offered to apologise on behalf of Bhajji, it was only to smooth things over, at no stage did I admit that he had made a racist remark; in fact, I said he had not.

"Unfortunately, these days, when someone apologises, it is seen as either a sign of weakness or an admission of guilt. I am neither unnerved nor are we guilty," Kumble wrote.

"In the larger interests of the game, if an apology could help to build bridges and smooth things over, then it is better made than left unsaid because of egos."

Kumble also indicated that a separate incident risked leaving its after-effects in Perth next week.

"I would like to begin by pointing out that someone (Clarke) clearly edged the ball to the slips in the second innings at SCG and stood there even when there was not an iota of doubt over the dismissal," he said.

"The same player then claimed a catch that showed more than reasonable doubt and said he was 100 per cent certain it was clean.

"At this point, a few days before the Test in Perth, I can tell you that that sort of behaviour will play a big role in my decision whether to continue the agreement that Ricky and I had made before the series began.

"We had decided that in the case of a disputed catch we would take the word of the fielder concerned, if he was certain.

"But that agreement was based on the premise that, come what may, whatever the situation, the fielder concerned would be completely straight on what happened.

"Now, there will obviously be a big question mark about that in future matches."

Australia lead the four-match series 2-0 after victories in Melbourne and Sydney.


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