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Harbhajan in the clear

The International Cricket Council(ICC) dropped the racial abuse charge against Harbhajan Singh after he was found guilty by the match referee Mike Procter soon after the second Test in Sydney.

Appeals commissioner New Zealand Justice John Hansen decided to significantly reduce the three-match ban imposed on Harbhajan after dropping the charge of racial abuse at the ICC code of conduct appeal hearing in Adelaide.

Harbhajan was then charged with a lesser offence of abusive language and as a result handed down a fine of 50 per cent of the match fee.

The Indian team seem happy with the new offence after they said that they will now continue with the tour.

The worst thing about the whole affair were the on-going threats to abandon the tour if the original charge was upheld and I think its not good for the game of cricket. Those threats show that India know that they are very powerful financially in cricket circles and knew the threat would be taken seriously.

But I wonder whether other countries will also be allowed to use those kind of threats, not that it is good, but India has set a precedent.

I think they should have presented all the evidence and say that they would go with whatever judgment was passed on and not issue threat after threat.

I think in the end Justice Hansen had good reasons to drop the charges but I don't think he needed a cloud of threats to come to his decision.

I hope that this is the last time we have such a thing in cricket and teams must simply trust the procedures for appeal that are already laid down and prepare all the evidence that they have to make sure they come with the judgment they will be seeking.

...this is one issue which was badly handled. The whole process lacked honour and dignity. I hope administrators will be able to stand above biases caused by economic and financial considerations, and it doesnt help anybody to hold the sport to ransom using financial muscles.

I know the sport is at a critical time, what with the breakaway leagues being formed and the threats of lost sponsorship. The concentration of revenue source in one country is really a misfortune, and i hope the sport wont be damaged in the long run.

The ICC should grow the sport and broaden the financial base, easier said than done.

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I agree with you Mbareboy, actually I was reading a story in The Age that said that Harbhajan had a suspended one Test ban on his record but this information was not passed to Justice John Hansen. This could have resulted in a ban at least of one match and I don't understand how the ICC could overlook such info in such a high profile case and they had all the time to look for it since the Sydney test.