Ricky didn't take me seriously: Kumble

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/k/kumble1.jpg' class='caption'> Anil Kumble said he tried to persuade Ricky Ponting not to proceed with a formal charge against Harbhajan Singh over an alleged racist jibe.

Updated: January 11, 2008 16:35 IST
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Indian skipper Anil Kumble on Wednesday revealed that he had requested Ricky Ponting to withdraw the "racist abuse" charge against Harbhajan Singh but his plea was not taken too seriously by the Australian skipper, who was perhaps unmindful of its implications.

Kumble said he made the request before the hearing began in Sydney last week but the Australian captain let it go.

"I did make a request to Ponting, if it can be sorted out before it went up to the match referee. But he said a report has already been made," the Indian skipper disclosed.

"Having played cricket for this long, I knew such allegations could spiral into something bigger, I envisaged it could become a larger issue," Kumble said, reflecting on the issue which still has the potential to disrupt the tour.

Harbhajan was slapped with a three-Test ban for allegedly racially abusing Andrew Symonds, outraging the Indian Board and fans. An appeal against the ban will come up for hearing soon.

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Kumble said the Indians, who arrived here for a three-day practice match against ACT XI, are trying to move on from the controversy, which cast a threat on the tour itself.

"I think it's important to move on, cricket is larger than individuals and I respect that and it's important that we move on," he told reporters on being asked whether the two captains will sit down for a chat to sort out thorny issues.

"The focus for us is to ensure that we get the best possible out of this game" he said after arriving here for a three-day practice match against ACT XI starting on Thursday.

Kumble also did not commit himself on whether the captains' agreement, to go by the fielder's word on close catches, before the start of the tour would remain in practice for the rest of the series.

He also refrained from commenting on his team's stance on the charge they have pressed against Australian spinner Brad Hogg, saying, "we would wait for the hearing and then let you know."

Kumble reiterated that Harbhajan never used the word for which he was accused and punished by match referee Mike Procter last week.

"It is a serious charge. From what we gathered from our teammates, the two people who were in the middle, that remark was never made," he asserted.

"Whatever people believe the word was said, he didn't say it," he added.

The Indian skipper said his side wants to put the controversy behind and move on with the tour.

"It's nice to be playing cricket again. I look forward to this game (three-day Canberra game). It's important to move on", he added.

"Hopefully, whatever happens to the appeal, we would get the right decision," Kumble said.

Looking back at the two days spent in Sydney, Kumble admitted it tested his side's patience.

"It's been tough, very difficult, because it's a very serious issue. The entire team is together in this. Board is backing us fully, we are all with Bhajji, its not easy but he seems to be in a good mood," he said.

On the third Test, Kumble wanted his team to make good use of the three-day practice game and sort out a few niggling positions in the composition of the side.

"We need to be on top of our games to beat Australia. We have done that in patches in this series, we had a chance to draw the Sydney game, it didn't happen," he said.

"I am sure there will be moments in Perth where we need to seize those opportunities," he signed off.

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