Melbourne, Jan 11 : Team India's manager Chetan Chauhan has blamed Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds for violating the oral pact the latter had with Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh for not lodging complaints against each other.
Chauhan said that after having a heated argument in a one-day international in October last year, both the players met in Mumbai to diffuse the tension existing between them.
"In Mumbai they had a friendly pact, an oral pact," said Chauhan, adding, "I would say the first person to have broken that pact was the person who has complained. (Symonds) has said it everywhere that it was he who started it. The cause started from there and then the effect came in."
According to media reports, at that point of time in Mumbai Symonds was forced by his team-mates to report the matter to the match referee, but the Australian all-rounder said he wanted to sort it out man to man.
Symonds spoke to Harbhajan in the Team India's dressing room and the latter had apologised saying that he would not do it again, sources said.
Commenting on the recent spat between Symonds and Harbhajan, Chauhan said, "He (Symonds) has admitted that he had said something to provoke Harbhajan. So there was a cause and an effect.
"We tried our best to scale down the controversy, but were told that the Australian players were adamant to press charges," The Australian quoted him, as saying.
Confirming his spat with Harbhajan, Symonds said that he couldn't stop himself after seeing that Harbhajan had patted Brett Lee on the bottom with his bat.
"I have no idea why he did it,'" said Symonds, adding, "I was standing nearby and when I saw what happened, I thought, that's not on."
Citing this incident as a reason for his acts, Symonds said: "I am a firm believer in sticking up for your team-mate so I stepped in and had a bit of a crack at Harbhajan, telling him exactly what I thought of his antics. He then had a shot back, which brings us to the situation we're facing."
With the fate of tour yet not clear, international cricketers' association (FICA) chief executive Tim May came out in favour of Australian skipper Ricky Ponting and Symonds.
"After the recent Australian tour of India, the racism issue was front-page news and in particular the offending term monkey,'" said May, adding, "For people to dump unceremoniously on a player who has the conviction and strength to report an alleged example of racial abuse is tantamount to accepting racism in our midst."
Story first published: Friday, January 11, 2008, 14:41 [IST]
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