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Harbhajan appeal hearing after Test series: ICC


Dubai : India’s off-spinner Harbhajan Singh can now concentrate on his bowling as the International Cricket Council (ICC) has said the hearing in his racial abuse case will be held at the end of the ongoing four-Test series.

“Following formal requests from Cricket Australia (CA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Justice John Hansen has agreed to hold the hearing after the fourth Test [Adelaide]. The hearing will take place Jan 29 and 30 in Adelaide,” ICC said here.

Harbhajan can continue playing until the hearing takes place. India trail 0-2 in the four-Test series.

Harbhajan was banned for three Tests after being found guilty under Level 3 of the ICC Code of Conduct following an incident that took place during the second Test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

“An allegation was made against Harbhajan under the ICC Code of Conduct and he was found guilty by the match referee (Mike Procter). As is his right under the code, Harbhajan has chosen to have the evidence tested at an appeal before an independent code of conduct commissioner,” said ICC CEO Malcolm Speed.

Australia’s Andrew Symonds had alleged that Harbhajan had called him “monkey” during India’s 122-run defeat in Sydney.

India also charged that Brad Hogg had called captain Anil Kumble and Mahendra Singh Dhoni “b*******”. However, the Indians dropped the charge Monday after a meeting between Kumble and Australia captain Ricky Ponting.

Indian fans and supporters are now expecting that Ponting will reciprocate the gesture and will not press for a ban for Harbhajan when the hearing takes place after the fourth Test in Adelaide.

Harbhajan’s offence falls under 3.3 of the ICC Code of Conduct that refers to players or team officials “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”.

Players found guilty of Level 3 offences face penalties in the range of a ban of two to four Test matches or four to eight One-Day Internationals.

In accordance with the Code of Conduct, players found guilty of Level 2, 3 or 4 offences have to the right to an appeal. In this case, New Zealand Cricket’s representative on the ICC Code of Conduct Commission, Justice Hansen, has been appointed commissioner.

“Justice Hansen has the power to increase, decrease, amend or otherwise substitute his own decision from that made at the previous hearing, and his decision is final and binding,” said ICC.

“Once Justice Hansen has reached his decision, he must provide it in writing to ICC’s Senior Counsel and Company Secretary Urvasi Naidoo, who will then forward it to Harbhajan, match referee Procter and ICC CEO Speed ahead of any public announcement.”

Speed said that the ICC would have liked the appeal to be held earlier but it was not possible. “Both CA and the BCCI have requested the hearing to be held after the Test series for logistical reasons and, following due consideration, Justice Hansen agreed,” he said.

“The reality is that it is likely to go into a second day as lawyers will be involved so we needed to have two clear days to assign to it. With just three full days between the third and fourth Tests, we were conscious of the teams’ travel arrangements and preparations for the match.”