Adelaide:What started out as an sms joke became Harbhajan's main defence he says he abused Symonds mother in hindi and that got lost in translation into monkey.
Not surprisingly lack of evidence from the stump mics and a change of heart from Symonds himself resulted in Harbhajan avoiding the tag of being a racist.
A big day for Indian cricket off the field as Harbhajan Singh has come clean of charges racial abuse. The Turbanator has been exonerated of the three Test ban, but declared guilty of general abuse.
His charge has been downgraded and will now be fined 50per cent of his match fee. The compromise came after Cricket Australia and BCCI brokered peace.
Cricket Australia's chairman Creagh O'Connor escorted Sachin Tendulkar for the hearing. The news was confirmed with the release of the joint statement from Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds to Justice John Hansen, the appeals Commissioner.
"We both agree that the game has to move on and therefore, these charges should be dropped. The statement was corroborated by Ponting, Hayden, Clarke and Tendulkar.
The ICC though still had to complete the formalities of the hearing and after five hours of deliberation the charge was downgraded from racial abuse to general abuse.
The hearing began at Adelaide on Tuesday morning at around 6 am IST.
Mathew Hayden and Michael Clarke, who were within ear shot distance and party to some of the arguments were also there, along with the two on-field umpires Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor.
A notable absentee was the ICC match referee Mike Procter, who was not supposed to attend because he delivered the previous judgment.
That after Harbhajan told the hearing that he had used a hindi abuse which sounded exactly like monkey. Apparently there was much laughter during the hearing from the Indian contingent when this happened. But the BCCI chose not to sound too victorious or smug after this vindication.
"We wanted racial charge to go and we are happy that is the case," said Sharad Pawar, president, BCCI.
So what caused the change of heart towards Harbhajan, the Australian players were reportedly not happy with this compromise but they were perhaps gently persuaded by Cricket Australia.
Cricket Australia, it seems was gently persuaded by former BCCI president I S Bindra. This clearly was the larger plan of the Indian Board since they had also requested Kumble to drop the abuse charge against Brad Hogg.
"There are several reasons for handing out a minimum punishment to Harbhajan. Firstly, this was his major breach in 10 years. Secondly, with the World Cup coming up in the sub-continent, tension between both teams and both countries had to be diffused and one way of diffusing it was to give Harbhajan a lesser punishment," said V R Manohar, Harbhajan's Counsel.