Mumbai:What made Harbhajan Singh slap Sreesanth on the field? Was it premeditated or was the off-spinner provoked? That is what Sudhir Nanavati, the BCCI appointed commissioner investigating the matter, has to determine. At the moment, things don't look bright for Bhajji.
"I want to find out only for the purpose that whether it was a reaction as far as Harbhajan is concerned of giving the slap to Sreesanth or not. But so far the documents which I have received don't indicate to that extent," Nanavati said.
Ominous words for Harbhajan, who has already been banned for 11 DLF IPL matches. His troubled times though are far from over.
Sources have told NDTV that he could be banned for a maximum of 10 international matches and fined 10 to 20 per cent of his annual retainership with the BCCI. Harbhajan is living on a prayer. His state evident from the letter he sent to the Board after being slapped by the show-cause notice.
NDTV has exclusive access to that letter in which Bhajji wrote: "I did apologise to Sreesanth after the incident and I would do so again in public if needed. Along with accepting my most sincere and heartfelt apologies over this incident, I would like to appeal to the board's sense of fair play and ask for one final chance before taking any disciplinary action against me over this incident."
Harbhajan's plea though might fall on deaf ears, since there is little doubt that the BCCI will make sure another Slapgate never happens.
"I think the disciplinary committee will decide after my report to award punishment or not to award punishment. They might be keeping in mind also setting an example for future such thing to be avoided, all precaution," Nanavati said.
The quantum of penalty will depend on whether the one-man committee can establish whether the attack on Sreesanth was provoked or premeditated.