Harbhajan found guilty, banned for 11 matches

Published: Monday, April 28, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Harbhajan bannedNew Delhi: Harbhajan Singh was banned for 11 Indian Premier League matches for slapping Sreesanth. After the hearing presided over by match referee Farokh Engineer here, Harbhajan was found guilty of a level 4.2 offence which refers to physical assault against another player.

Harbhajan pleaded guilty and expressed regret for his actions that hurt Sreesanth"s feelings.

Announcing the verdict here, IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi said, ''As a penalty for the level 4.2 offence committed by Mr Harbhajan Singh, we hereby order that he be banned for the rest of the matches of the first IPL event.'' Apart from the ban, Harbhajan Singh was also slapped a fine of 100 per cent match fees from the third match onwards.

''We also order that Mr Harbhajan Singh be fined 100 per cent of any player fee that may have been paid or may hereafter be paid to him in respect of the remaining matches only. That does not take into account any of the two earlier matches (prior to Friday) that he may have played,'' Modi added.

Match referee and former India player Farokh Engineer, who presided over the hearing said,''Harbhajan accepted his guilt and acknowledged he was out of order.'' Mumbai Indians' coach Lal Chand Rajput was also pronounced guilty of a level 2 offence and was fined 50 per cent of his match fees.

Engineer, who viewed the tapes provided by broadcaster, found the incident was totally unprovoked.

''Lal Chand Rajput was right behind the off-spinner when the incident took place after the match and he did nothing to restrain Harbhajan and we found that it is totally against the spirit of the game,'' Modi said.

IPL also sounded a warning to Kings XI Punjab pace bowler S Sreesanth, who was at the receiving end of Harbhajan's ire on April 25 at Mohali, in regard to his onfield behaviour and displaying of unnecessary aggression.

Mr Modi, however, said the off-spinner has the right to appeal against the ban.

''He has the option to appeal against the ban. A committee will look into the matter if he do so,'' Modi stated.

Harbhajan had slapped Sreesanth after a match between Punjab Kings XI and Mumbai Indians in Mohali on Friday. The fast bowler, who is also known for his on-the-field aggression, was seen crying bitterly on the ground after the incident.

Harbhajan later appealed to the people of the country to forgive him.


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