Harbhajan Singh has been punished enough by the Indian Premier League for slapping India teammate S Sreesanth and the BCCI should not be very harsh when it hands out a separate penalty to the off-spinner, IPL match referee Farokh Engineer has pleaded.
Engineer, who adjudicated the hearing against Harbhajan that handed him a minimum of 11-match ban and a hefty fine that will see him lose close to Rs three crore, said that he was hoping for a lighter sentence from the BCCI.
"I am sure that BCCI will realise that Harbhajan's punishment has been pretty harsh and I hope for Harbhajan that they are lenient on him. But I can't really comment what the BCCI has to do," Engineer told NDTV.
The former wicketkeeper said that although Sreesanth, who was let off with a warning, was "no angel", Harbhajan's actions could not be condoned no matter what the provocation.
"I don't think Sreesanth is an angel. He is a lovely guy and he has been warned to take it easy... Not to go beyond the mark. Harbhajan made a big mistake there, a mistake that has never been made before. You just cannot strike another person," he said.
Engineer said that the video evidence against Harbhajan was so strong that the IPL board had to take action against the temperamental bowler.
"The footage was extremely incriminating. In cricket there is no body contact like football or boxing. It's something that happened in the heat of the moment and he will be regretful about this through the rest of his life," he said.