BREAKING NEWS – Harbhajan Singh Banned For 11 IPL Matches
Harbhajan Singh has been banned for 11 IPL matches in a hearing here after the off-spinner slapped S Sreesanth on Friday after the game between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab was concluded. Sreesanth was seen in tears after the incident took place and was being consoled by his Mohali teammates and owner Preity Zinta.
The match referee found that the incident was unprovoked. Harbhajan has been fined with 100 percent match fee and has to forfeit all all of his fees from the third game onwards. Sreesanth has also been warned.
Mumbai Indians coach Lalchand Rajput was also found guilty under Level Two offense (not stopping misconduct by a player) for breaching ‘Spirit of Cricket’ and has been fined 50 per cent of his fees. Rajput was standing behind Harbhajan and did not take any step to stop him.
But trouble for the off-spinner may not be over completely as he has to appear before the BCCI’s independent hearing, which served him with a show cause notice on Saturday. Harbhajan is a contracted player with the BCCI and hence the BCCI will pursue the matter independently.
Harbhajan Singh accepted the charge at the code of conduct hearing, adding whatever happened was not due to any ill-intention. The off-spinner, accompanied by Mumbai coach Lalchand Rajput and Harsha Bhogle to the hearing, said his primary focus was to play for India. He also made clear that he had no malice towards Sreesanth.
Harbhajan was the stand-in skipper for the Mumbai Indians in the absence of Sachin Tendulkar. The controversial bowler was temporariy banned on Saturday after news regarding his tiff broke out and did not play in Sunday’s game against the Deccan Chargers.
Cricinfo Report – Harbhajan Singh has been handed a 11-match ban following his altercation with Sreesanth at the end of Mumbai Indians’ match against Kings XI Punjab on Friday. It means he is all but out of the first edition of the IPL – unless Mumbai reach the semi-final of the tournament, which looks highly unlikely at this point.
Harbhajan also faces separate action from the Indian board, which has asked him to explain, “as a contracted player”, his role in the incident which came to light after Sreesanth broke down in front of the cameras.
Harbhajan has also been fined 100% of his match fee for Friday’s game. Lalchand Rajput, the coach of the Mumbai side, has also been found guilty of a level 2 offense and fined 15% of his match fee.
“Rajput was right behind Harbhajan when the incident took place. He didn’t take any step to restrain him. He has been fined 15% of his match fee,” said Lalit Modi, the commissioner of the IPL who is also a vice-president of the BCCI.
Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary, said on Monday that Sudhir Nanavati, a lawyer, has been appointed to conduct a “preliminary inquiry” and submit a report “within 15 days” to Sharad Pawar, the BCCI president, who will refer the findings to the board’s disciplinary committee for possible action.
IS Bindra, a member of the IPL governing council who is also president of the Punjab Cricket Association which hosted Friday’s match at Mohali, had told Cricinfo that Harbhajan faced a minimum ban of 10 IPL games.