Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bhajji banned again

Harbhajan Singh has been banned by the Indian board for five ODIs for slapping Sreesanth during an IPL match last month. The ban means Harbhajan will miss India's forthcoming tri-series in Bangladesh and the start of the Asia Cup in Pakistan, in addition to 11 matches in the IPL as earlier decided by the league.
While the decision is being seen in some quarters as a light punishment, the rider - which came at the end of the official announcement - was far more ominous: A life ban for a repeat offence. A senior BCCI official told Cricinfo that Harbhajan faces a life ban if reported and found guilty of indiscipline by match officials at any level of cricket, as specified by the Indian board's rules. The scope of that offence ranges from verbally abusing a rival player to physical assault.
"This obviously doesn't involve minor offences, such as showing dissent against an umpire's decision, which usually attract fines of 10-20% of the player's match fee," the official said. "But if he is found guilty of even verbal abuse, in any level of cricket, his career could end. The key is that the life ban threat has been officially recorded and that leaves little room for doubt later. Harbhajan is on dangerous ground and has to very careful."