Chandigarh:Harbhajan Singh's coach Davinder Arora on Wednesday said the BCCI's decision to ban the temperamental off-spinner for five ODIs is not justified as it amounts to punishing the bowler twice for the same offence.
"Harbhajan has already suffered heavily as he was banned for 11 matches in the IPL, which is also a Board backed event. I feel the Board should have let him off with a warning and not penalised him once again," the Jalandhar-based coach told PTI over phone.
The BCCI today banned the spinner for five ODIs for slapping his India teammate S Sreesanth and warned him of a life ban for any further misconduct on his part.
Arora, who has coached the cricketer since his early days, felt that Board should have taken a lenient view after the Indian Premier League banned him from the entire tournament besides fining him close to three crore.
Meanwhile, Harbhajan's mother Avtar Kaur tried to evade a direct response on the matter but said, "whatever the Board has done must be right."
"I am learning about this (the ban) through you and have nothing more to say," Kaur said as she hurried her way into her Jalandhar residence.
Chairman of the Punjab Cricket Association's coaching committee, D P Azad also felt that the Board should have taken a "lenient view".
"Harbhajan is very good at heart and comes from a humble background. The slapping incident was an unfortunate incident, but Bhajji has repented it and promised such a thing will not happen in future.
Therefore, the Board should have let him off with a warning," Azad, who was director of 'Pace Bowlers Academy', in which the spinner trained for three years in the mid 1990s, said.
"Harbhajan was always obedient and disciplined. Though the academy was named as Pace academy, but even spinners and batsman were given coaching," said Azad.
Bharti Vij, highest wicket taker for Punjab in the Ranji matches with 260 scalps to his credit, while commentting on the ban however, felt the Board had to go by rules.
"As per rules, whatever the Board has done must be right. Harbhajan has been a good friend of mine and we have played cricket together for our state. I think whatever happened was a reaction during heat of the moment and should now be forgotten," he said.
Asked if the ban will have any affect on his morale, Arora said, "though he is a tough guy mentally, he will still need motivation to overcome this difficult period. I will definitely talk to him and do whatever I can."
BCCI-appointed Commissioner Sudhir Nanavati submitted a 14-page report to the Board and the Disciplinary Committe, headed by president Sharad Pawar imposed the ban, which means that the spinner will miss the forthcoming tri-series against Bangladesh and two matches of the Asia Cup in Pakistan.
The 27-year-old had already been banned from the ongoing IPL and fined a whopping Rs 3 crore match fee for the level 4 offence for the slapping incident which happened after an IPL match between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on April 25.