India rejects charges against Bhajji

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The Indian team management rejected Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds' allegations of racial abuse by Harbhajan Singh.

Updated: January 09, 2008 17:38 IST
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The Indian team management rejected Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds' allegations of racial abuse by Harbhajan Singh, asserting the off-spinner did not say anything offensive.

Although Harbhajan himself has not made any statement on the matter, Indian media manager M V Sridhar said the spinner has told the management that he did not taunt Symonds racially during their spat on the third day of the ongoing second cricket Test on Thursday.

"According to Harbhajan he did not say anything which was offensive," he said.

Sridhar also rubbished suggestions that Symonds' complaint against Harbhajan would have any bearing on the relationship between the BCCI and Cricket Australia.

"The relationship between the BCCI and CA is excellent and this Test match has seen some very competitive cricket being played. We would not let allow a small incident to overshadow everything," he said.

The exact comments are not known but Sridhar confirmed that a "hearing" against Harbhajan is scheduled for Saturday.

Umpires Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor have laid the charge after consulting an agitated Ricky Ponting at the end of the day's play.

Harbhajan has been reported for International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct 3.3.

It states: "Using language or gestures that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person's race, religion, gender, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin."

Not long after Harbhajan had scored his 3rd Test 50, words were exchanged between him and Symonds. And while Ricky Ponting broke the impasse on the field, the line had obviously been crossed with the Umpires stepping in and having a word with the Indian spinner.

Although it appears that Harbhajan did make an effort at apologizing, the racial abuse charges have made it necessary for the match referee to call for a hearing.

Racial abuse is a level 3 offence, and if found guilty Harbhajan might face a ban of 2-4 test matches or 4-8 one dayers. (With PTI inputs)

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