ICL: Indian Cricket League


Speed admits ICC blunder in Harbhajan Singh’s case

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harbhajanInternational Cricket Council chief Malcolm Speed said on Thursday the organisation accepted the blame for the administrative blunder that enabled Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh to escape a stiffer penalty in his racial abuse case.

Harbhajan’s three-Test suspension for allegedly racially abusing Australian Andrew Symonds during the contentious second Test in Sydney was overturned at a code of conduct appeals hearing in Adelaide on Tuesday.

At the hearing, the charge was downgraded to a level two charge of using abusive language and Harbhajan subsequently pleaded guilty, with appeals commissioner Justice John Hansen fining the spinner half of his match fee.

However, Justice Hansen then revealed he would have handed out a stiffer penalty, including a possible suspension, had he been aware of Harbhajan’s full record. Hansen was only informed of one prior misdemeanour by the spinner, with three other previous offences overlooked by the ICC, including a one-match suspended sentence for showing dissent to an umpire in 2001.

Speed issued a written statement on Thursday that acknowledged the ICC had been at fault. “It is very unfortunate that human error led to Justice Hansen not having the full history of Harbhajan’s previous Code of Conduct breaches and the ICC accepts responsibility for this mistake,” Speed said.

Hansen said the suspended sentence did not show up in the ICC records because the incident was logged under another player’s name, while the other two priors were omitted because of a database issue and human error.

He said on Wednesday that Harbhajan had been very fortunate and admitted he considered increasing the penalty when informed of the oversight. “Singh can feel fortunate he has reaped the benefit of these database and human errors,” he said.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said they were disappointed. “The judge’s decision is final, we accept that, there was an unfortunate error in circumstances that led to him not having all the facts in front of him at that time, but that’s gone, that’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it is,” he said.

In his statement, Speed also warned players to lift their standards of behaviour. “One thing that has come out of this is the need for players to review their on-field behaviour,” Speed said.

“In this case, it is clear that Harbhajan verbally abused an opponent having been provoked to do so by that opponent. “This is not acceptable behaviour on the cricket field. India play Australian in a Twenty20 match at the MCG on Friday, followed by the triangular one-day series that also includes Sri Lanka.

Source:Cricket News

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