Thursday, 31 January 2008

Speed unloads some bullshit to explain why Harbhajan's sentence was downgraded.

SYDNEY (AFP) - International Cricket Council chief Malcolm Speed said Thursday it accepted the blame for the administrative blunder that enabled Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh to escape a stiffer penalty in his racial abuse case.

Harbhajan's three-Test suspension for allegedly racially abusing Australian Andrew Symonds during the contentious second Test in Sydney was overturned at a code of conduct appeals hearing in Adelaide on Tuesday.

At the hearing, the charge was downgraded to a level two charge of using abusive language and Harbhajan subsequently pleaded guilty, with appeals commisioner Justice John Hansen fining the spinner half of his match fee.

However, Hansen then revealed he would have handed out a stiffer penalty, including a possible suspension, had he been aware of Harbhajan's full record.

Hansen was only informed of one prior misdemeanour by the spinner, with three other previous offences overlooked by the ICC, including a one-match suspended sentence for showing dissent to an umpire in 2001.

Speed issued a written statement on Thursday that acknowledged the ICC had been at fault.

"It is very unfortunate that human error led to Justice Hansen not having the full history of Harbhajan's previous Code of Conduct breaches and the ICC accepts responsibility for this mistake," Speed said.

Hansen said the suspended sentence did not show up in the ICC records because the incident was logged under another player's name, while the other two priors were omitted because of a database issue and human error.

He said on Wednesday that Harbhajan had been very fortunate and admitted he considered increasing the penalty when informed of the oversight.

"Singh can feel fortunate he has reaped the benefit of these database and human errors," he said.

In making his statement, Speed also took the opportunity to warn players to lift their standards of behaviour.

"One thing that has come out of this is the need for players to review their on-field behaviour," Speed said.

"In this case, it is clear that Harbhajan verbally abused an opponent having been provoked to do so by that opponent.

"This is not acceptable behaviour on the cricket field.

"I expect all players to use this as a wake-up call that on-field behaviour must improve."

India play Australian in a Twenty20 match at the MCG on Friday, followed by the triangular one-day series that also includes Sri Lanka.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Boycott the BCCI

It seems as though money talks. Cricket Australia should be ashamed of themselves, scared of losing some money if India went home. I would have called their bluff and refused to play them ever again.

India makes the bulk of it's broadcast rights money when they're playing Australia and it would have been worth more to them to play that for Australia. It's a fucking disgrace that Singh's charge was downgraded and it shows just how much power India has and how much power the other boards let them have.

I am refusing to watch any more games featuring India this summer and I call on everybody else to do the same.

Andrew Symonds should not have to put up with being racially vilified just because CA is scared of losing some money. As one anonymous contracted player told the Sydney Morning Herald "The thing that pisses us off is that it shows how much power India has" "The Aussie guys aren't going to make it [the accusation] up. The players are frustrated because this shows how much influence India has, because of the wealth they generate. Money talks."

The BBCI even chartered a plane to whisk their one-day squad from Melbourne - the venue for Friday's Twenty20 fixture - to Adelaide, so that they could fly home to India if the charges against Harbhajan were not dropped. The move was described by MV Sridhar, the team's assistant manager, as a "show of solidarity". What a load of bullshit.

If the ICC continues to allow the BCCI to dictate what happens in world cricket, a whole lot of people will eventually get so turned off that they will just stop watching.