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Harbhajan deserves long ban: ex-Pak players

BCCI suspends Harbhajan Singh from the IPL and the tweaker faces an inquiry which could result in a ban.

cricket Updated: Apr 27, 2008 21:10 IST

Former Pakistan cricketers on Sunday said off-spinner Harbhajan Singh needed to be banned for a long period for slapping paceman S Sreesanth during the Indian Premier League.

Batting great Zaheer Abbas and Rashid Latif have no doubt that an example needed to be made of Harbhajan so that other players do not repeat the same actions.

BCCI has suspended Harbhajan from the IPL and the tweaker faces an inquiry which could result in a ban.

"This is an unprecedented incident. I don't know what provoked Harbhajan to behave the way he did. But in cricket these things must not be tolerated. He must be banned and not for just one or two games," Abbas said.

He said incidents of players misbehaving with each other were growing in cricket and needed to be stamped out.

"I think the boards also must share blame for this situation. There have been some instances where players have got away with light sentances."

Latif blamed BCCI for the incident.

"For sometime now it has ignored blatant provocative actions by its players against opposing teams. Aggression is good in cricket but when players are given a free hand this is what happens."

The former wicketkeeper said the ICC Code of Conduct had failed to have the desired effect.

"I just think that the entire system of disciplining players under the code of conduct is flawed. The match referees are former players and have a soft corner for fellow players and the Boards also try to ensure their players don't get penalised too harshly. The Sydney Test in Australia is an example," he said.

Latif said there was a need for the ICC and boards to have an independent tribunal to deal with serious offence without getting dictated by anyone.

"There should be legal people on the tribunal who can move immediately to collect evidence and take appropriate action against offending players."

The former captain said if the Indian board tried to hush up the incident and let Harbhajan off lightly, it would do long term damage to its cricket.

"A very strong example has to be set now to stop players from behaving like this in cricket," he said.

Former off-spinner Tauseef Ahmed said he was shocked by the incident since spinners are supposed to be patient and steady.

"I don't really know what provoked Harbhajan to behave like this but he should never have done what he did. You don't behave violently in cricket at any time. He must be disciplined," Tauseef said.

He said incidents of players staring at, sledging or bumping into each other are growing and needed to be controlled immediately.