'Threat of terminating tour real'

  • PTI, Melbourne
  • |
  • Updated: Jan 11, 2008 19:10 IST

BCCI chief Sharad Pawar has said the threat of India pulling out of the cricket tour of Australia was real if the ban on spinner Harbhajan Singh was not lifted.

"Let's see what happens, but allegations of racism against a member of our cricket team are not acceptable. After the meeting, we then will take action," he was quoted as saying in 'The Hearld Sun'.

Pawar confirmed that he has been empowered by the Board to decide on the matter.

"That is true but I will only use the power in support of Harbhajan for the rest of the country," he said. "There will be an (ICC) committee hearing. We are confident that in the hearing he will be cleared," he added.

An ICC spokesman has said the hearing into Harbhajan's appeal will take longer than the stipulated seven days. "It should be held within seven days of a Commissioner being appointed but that can be extended," he said.

New Zealand's High Court judge John Hansen has been appointed the Appeals Commissioner for the hearing.

Harbhajan was slapped a three-Test ban for allegedly racially abusing Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds outraging the Indian players and Board, who had threatened to abandon the tour after the controversial second Test in Sydney, marred by poor umpiring by Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson.

The ICC stepped in to diffuse the explosive situation by removing Bucknor from umpiring duties for the rest of the series. It also appointed Chief Referee Ranjan Madugalle as a facilitator for the third Test in Perth to ease the tension between the two sides.

The BCCI's working committee, which had met for an emergency meeting in Delhi on January 8, had authorised President Pawar to take all possible steps at his command and deploy all human and material resources available to get Harbhajan cleared of the "obnoxious and baseless" accusation.

The working committee had also authorised the President and office bearers to take all appropriate decisions and exercise all available options in dealing with the situation emerging during the course of the hearing.


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No pulling out of tour: Pawar

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