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Harbhajan crossed tolerable limits: Symonds

Andrew Symonds accuses Harbhajan Singh of overstepping the limit, saying he will tolerate racial slurs, but only from friends.

cricket Updated: Jan 13, 2008 13:23 IST

Andrew Symonds has accused Harbhajan Singh of overstepping the limit, saying he would tolerate racial slurs but only from friends, the Australian media reported on Sunday.

"I'm not a sensitive person about it (taunts). If you know me well you can have a joke to me about anything and any part of racism and I'll laugh. But if I'm not your friend, if you're an opposition player or something like that, it is unacceptable," Symonds was quoted as saying by Sunday Herald Sun.

"Even with opposition players, if I do know them well and they want to joke about something like that, it doesn't stir me up, so what's happened is something I and the Australian boys have taken very seriously," he added.

Symonds has been at the centre of an alleged racism row that has soured relations between the Australian and Indian teams. He was allegedly called a "monkey" by Indian spinner Harbhajan, who was subsequently banned for three Test matches for the offence. The ban prompted the Indians to lodge an appeal amid threats to abandon the tour.

But Indian fans and officials claim Symonds misinterpreted a derogatory Punjabi phrase as a racial gibe. The claims could clear Harbhajan of the racial vilification charge.

As the warring parties prepare for the third Test in Perth Wednesday, Symonds broke his silence to declare he could tolerate racism but only from those he knew.

The spat between Symonds and Harbhajan at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) was the pair's second in 12 weeks, with the Indian allegedly calling his rival a "monkey" during the sides' one-day series in India in October.