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Home > Cricket > India's tour of Australia 2007 > Report

Symonds accuses Harbhajan of racial abuse

January 04, 2008 16:02 IST
Last Updated: January 04, 2008 17:25 IST

Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds [Images] on Friday accused Harbhajan Singh [Images] of racism. The allegation could lead to more bad blood between the two teams.

Umpires Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor have laid the charge against Harbhajan after consulting with an agitated Ricky Ponting [Images] at the end of the third day's play in the second Test.

The exact comments are not known but the Indian team's media manager confirmed that a "hearing" is scheduled for Saturday.

There was a mid-pitch verbal spat between the two, who are carrying on a battle since the last series in India in October. The two exchanged words before Sachin Tendulkar [Images], Matthew Hayden [Images] and umpire Benson intervened to calm nerves.

Harbhajan has been reported for the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct 3.3.

It states: "Using language or gestures that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person's race, religion, gender, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin."

Both cricketers put up sterling performance in the riveting second Test, Symonds striking 162 not out and Harbhajan making a spirited 63 to go with his two wickets in Australia's first innings.

Tendulkar, who was batting with Harbhajan when the altercation took place, chose to play down the incident.

"I don't think it was an issue, a couple of lines exchanged here and there that keep happening virtually every day," he said.

"I don't think it's that big an issue as far as I am concerned. As long as the game moves on and the players don't cross the limits, it's fine.

"It's good for the spectators. Sometimes also you exchange humours. It's sometimes funny."

Asked if the comments were funny, Tendulkar said, "There were a couple of things. It was about friendship."

He claimed Harbhajan had said: 'You seem to be very friendly with our bowlers. Are you trying to be friends with me now? I am a bowler as well.'

"It was just one of those things," Tendulkar said.

If Harbhajan is found guilty, he could be ruled out for the rest of the series and find his career disrupted.

In India, Symonds had claimed that he was subject to monkey chants, which, in his parlance, amounts to racial abuse.

There was no official stance by the ICC [Images] on the issue but Australian captain Ricky Ponting had then said it was unacceptable.

"Racism is unacceptable anywhere in the world. You don't expect it to happen when you step out on the field.

"We did not deserve it and we don't expect it to happen again."

After the monkey chant was repeated in Mumbai, in the last one-dayer, several fans were evicted from the stands and arrested.

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