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Home > India > Cricket > Report

Will the ban hit Harbhajan's Hummer plans?

Gulu Ezekiel/GE Features | May 01, 2008 16:17 IST

What do errant Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh [Images] and the late West Indian fast bowling great Malcolm Marshall have in common?

Not much, you would guess, save for the obvious -- both being international bowlers of repute.

But there is more. Both belong to the 'counting your chickens before they are hatched' club; and, in both cases, high priced luxury cars were involved.

Clueless? A bit of cricketing history from the 80s is involved, and also something more current.

Back in 1983, India had shocked the world by reaching the final of the Prudential World Cup at Lord's. But skittled out for 183 before the end of their allotted 60 overs by the devastating West Indies [Images] fast bowlers, it was surely only a matter of time before their mighty batting took over. Nothing, it appeared, could stop Clive Lloyd's [Images] Caribbeans from lifting their third straight World Cup crown.

So confident was Marshall of victory that just before the final was played, on June 25, he put a down payment on a BMW [Images] car.

The rest, of course, is cricket history! 

Wrote Marshall in his autobiography, Marshall Arts: "I was sure we were going to win that World Cup. In fact, I was so positive about the outcome that I had even ordered a new BMW car on the misguided belief that I could pay for it out of my winnings. What utter folly! I cannot now comprehend my arrogance and stupidity...

"To say I was in a relaxed mood [after India's innings] would be an understatement. I could visualise myself sitting behind the wheel of that flashy sports car and I hardly paid much attention to the cricket when we went out to get those 184 runs in the 60 overs available to us. Others were in a similar state of mind; there was no way we could fail."

Fail they did, as India romped home by 43 runs under the canny captaincy of Kapil Dev [Images]. And the legend of 'Kapil's Dev-ils' was born.

So what about Harbhajan, banned for the rest of the IPL after the infamous 'slapgate' at Mohali on Friday?

Well, shortly after the Indian team returned from Australia after clinching the CB ODI tri-series, the off spinner was asked by a television channel reporter what he planned to do with the whopping $850,000 (app. Rs. 3.4 crore) he had been paid to join the Mumbai Indians franchise at the IPL auction.

A beaming Harbhajan announced he was going to buy a Hummer, that tank-like vehicle that is a rage in the United States and the world.

The latest Hummer mode, the 2008 H3 is listed between $32,000 (Rs 12.80 lakh) and $39,000  (Rs 15.60 lakh). But since there is no dealership in India, the import duty he would have to pay on bringing in such a vehicle would be double the actual cost of the car itself.

Asked why a Hummer, Harbhajan proudly claimed that it would be the only one on the streets of Jalandhar, his home town, and though he had always wanted one, he could now afford it thanks to his IPL auction price!

Harbhajan's banning has cost him almost Rs 2.6 crore after playing just three matches and being paid for only two games. His entire match fee for the Mohali encounter has been docked.

One wonders now: is he still going to buy that dream car or cut his losses? Hope he hasn't made the down payment!