-by KParthasarathi Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Amidst all the uproar over Harbhajan’s ban for racial slur and subsequent revocation of the ban, we seem to have missed one point namely Bhajji’s foul mouthing. His own admission before the Appeals Commissioner that he had used abusive language fetched him a fine of 50% match fee. This is not the first time that Harbhajan got himself embroiled in such unseemly episodes. He has a history of volatile temper. While BCCI may be relieved that the player has been acquitted of racism charge, it should keep in mind that he is guilty of getting into verbal assaults with players on the other side.
BCCI had also obliquely arm twisted the ICC that the tour would be off if the player was not acquitted of racist charge. It is agreed that Australians are not lily white and are known for sledging. How is it that none of the other Indian players get involved in such fracas? The entire unfortunate incident that affected the players’ morale and concentration could have been avoided had Harbhajan not gone for giving it back to Symonds. The policy of ‘a tooth for tooth and an eye for eye’ sorts ill with a gentleman’s game. If Harbhajan had felt aggrieved by the remarks of Symonds, he should have reported to his captain for taking up with the umpire. To take law in his own hands had transformed what could have been an accusation against Symonds in needling Harbhajan into one of defense with Symonds turned into a victim.
BCCI should arrange counseling for players with short fuse and implement a system of punishment for bad behavior on the field. There should be guidelines to the players on what should be done if they are harassed or sledged by the players in the opposing team. There should be no recurrence of such episodes bringing disrepute to the team and the country.