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'Bhajji, Sree sledged South Africans'

April 29, 2008 18:36 IST

The recent slap-gate featuring Harbhajan Singh and S Sreesanth does not surprise South Africa coach Micky Arthur, who alleged that both players abused Proteas players during their Test series against India earlier this year.

According to him, Harbhajan apologised to South African batsman Ashwell Prince for abusing him in the third and final Test in Kanpur, while Sreesanth sledged A B de Villiers.

"There was an incident in Kanpur. There was a hearing by the match referee (Roshan Mahanama) during which Harbhajan apologised to Prince," Arthur told Cricinfo.

"It was settled and we were happy with the apology. I am not 100 per cent sure what was said. But Ashwell felt very strongly about it at that time and that's why we took it up," Arthur said.

He said Sreesanth was no saint either during the three-Test series.

"Sreesanth was just Sreesanth. Perhaps our players lost a lot of respect for him on the tour. He constantly abused A B de Villiers and it was very personal. But, considering the general spirit in which the series was played, we didn't feel strongly enough to complain," he said.

Arthur said the behaviour of the duo "was not great" but the South African team management still did not lodge an official complaint.

"At the end of the day, we are not squealers," Arthur said.

"We strongly believe that what happens on the field stays on it. Besides, we were very happy with the general spirit in which the series was played in, and we left with very pleasant memories of the tour, especially the cricket that was played," he added.

Naturally, Arthur is not surprised that Harbhajan was banned for the rest of the Indian Premier League for slapping the equally belligerent Sreesanth.

"...when there are two such volatile players on the field, anything can happen," he said.