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Bhajji's previous good conduct led to no-ban decision

The fact that Harbhajan Singh had not been booked under the ICC Code of Conduct after 1998, saved him from getting a bigger punishment.

cricket Updated: Jan 29, 2008 13:53 IST

The fact that Harbhajan Singh had not been booked under the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct after 1998, saved him from getting a bigger punishment after the charges of racism levelled against him were dropped, it was revealed by the Cricket Board on Tuesday.

"The BCCI was firm on its stance that racism charges levelled against Harbhajan should be totally dropped. Had the charges stuck, they would have reflected badly on the BCCI and the nation at large," said, VR Manohar, BCCI-appointed lawyer for the off-spinner, here after the conclusion of the appeals hearing in Adelaide.

"He (Harbhajan) admitted to have hurled abuses (of non-racial nature) against the first aggressor Andrew Symonds. Once the level of the Code of Conduct charges was reduced from 3.3 to 2.8, it was left to Justice (John) Hansen to hand out appropriate punishment for the offence under which he now stood charged.

"It varied between the higher end - a ban of two ODIs and one Test - and 50 per cent of the match fees. Since he had not been charged since 1998 (Under the CoC) the lowest level of punishment was meted out which worked out to 50 per cent of match fees," Manohar explained.

Manohar defended Harbhajan via a teleconference while seated in the BCCI headquarters here when the hearing was held in Adelaide. "Statements were taken from Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan from the Indian side while the Australian side was represented by Symonds, captain Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke," he added.