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Symonds has only himself to blame, not Bhajji: Gavaskar

Melbourne, Sep 8 (UNI) Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has said Andrew Symonds' current mental state has nothing to do with Harbhajan Singh and added it would be wise to keep both the players away from off-field controversies.

''Some in the Australian media are making the excuse Symonds is nursing grievance against Cricket Australia for downgrading the charge against Harbhajan to verbal abuse and not racial slur as a reason for (his problems),'' Gavaskar was quoted as saying by Fox Sports.

Gavaskar was referring to the incident in the Sydney Test match when India toured Australia towards the end of last year.

Harbhajan Singh was initially reported for racially abusing Symonds, and was handed a three-match suspension.

The off-spinner challenged the ban, and after the issue was blown up into massive proportions, the ICC appointed Justice Hansen to review the original ban order of the ICC match referee.

Justice Hansen, after reviewing the case, decided that there was no evidence to ban Harbhajan Singh on the grounds of racial abuse and instead downgraded the charges to verbal abuse and slapped him with a one-match ban.

However, the Australian media had, a few days ago, claimed that Symonds had felt let down by Cricket Australia, who did not back him as much as the Indian board had backed Harbhajan Singh in that case.

''To this day Symonds has not forgiven Cricket Australia for what transpired in an Adelaide federal courtroom eight months ago,'' the report said.

''Harbhajan's reprieve infuriated Symonds, who felt abandoned by administrators he believed were more interested in kow-towing to India than protecting their own,'' the report further added.

Gavaskar said it would be unethical for Symonds to Harbhajan Singh for the latest incident where the all-rounder missed a compulsory team meeting and instead went out for fishing.

''They are blaming Cricket Australia for bowing to pressure from the Indian board when the facts are very simple. Once the video and audio recording had been stripped of other voices and sounds, it showed nothing racial.

''Cricket Australia knew that the charge could not stand before a qualified judge.

''The next step was to salvage something, to get Harbhajan to agree to a lower charge of verbal abuse which he did despite the fact that it was Symonds who started it all with his language,'' he added.

Gavaskar finally concluded by saying that at the end of the day, it was Harbhajan who got punished and Symonds did manage get to away with ''a rap on the knuckles from Judge Hansen''.


Story first published: Monday, September 8, 2008, 12:17 [IST]
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