New Delhi, Apr 29: Indian Premier League (IPL) Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi today said the ban on off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has sent out a ''strong message'' adding that the spirit of the game needs to be maintained and respected.
''This is a strong message that we have sent out, we have banned him for close to 13 matches, 11 or 13 depending on how the Mumbai team performs. We have also fined him 100 per cent of his pay cheque and that is close to 600,000 dollars,'' he told a private news channel. He said the incident should not have happened in the first place and the IPL has dealt with it in the most appropriate manner.''It is not just any other tournament, it is a very serious tournament.
''What has happened is Harbhajan did cross the 'Lakshman Rekha', he should not have done it... Harbhajan should not have crossed the line now that he did, we took immediate action,'' he said.
However, Modi denied that the incident will not affect the mood and the euphoria of the tournament and instead players can draw a lot of positives from it.
''I think it (euphoria) is more than enough... But there is a positive side to the incident because the players have taken this game as their own and they are actually fighting out for it as if they would have fought for team India, that's the positive side of it,'' Modi stated.