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Bhajji cleared of racist allegations against SCG crowd

Published: Monday, March 3, 2008, 16:45 [IST]
 
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ICC clears Harbhajan of 'monkey claims'

Sydney: Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh was cleared here Monday of making racist gestures and spitting at fans during his team's one-day win over Australia on Sunday.

Harbhajan was crucial in Sunday's victory that gave India a 1-0 lead in the tri-series finals, claiming the key wickets of Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden.

However, it was then claimed in the local media that he made monkey gestures by scratching his armpits with both hands in a similar fashion to Indian fans taunting Symonds last year, then spat at the crowd.

Indian officials leapt to his defence and match referee Jeff Crowe, who investigated the claims, found no evidence to support the allegations.

"I have investigated the alleged incident with Cricket Australia's ground security officials after reading newspaper reports and viewing related photographs that have been published," Crowe said.

"After reviewing all available information, I conclude that there is no need to take any action against Harbhajan Singh."

However, Indian team had earlier denied the allegations and team manager Bimal Soni said, ''This is the imagination of the Australian press, which has been trying to add pressure on Harbhajan at every moment.'' ''We do not talk about it, we only talk about the cricket on the field and we do not want to talk anything about these things,'' he added.

Former Australian captain Allan Border, who himself was present in the ground for the match, too, came out in support of Harbhajan and said, ''I am not too sure how serious it is.

''I mean I was at the ground yesterday and I was on that side of the ground and Harbhajan was copping a fair bit of stick from the crowd.

''I didn't notice any gestures at all and I thought he handled himself quite well to be quite honest,'' he added.

AFP

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