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Procter lauds India for "magnificent gesture"

cricket Updated: Jan 14, 2008 18:49 IST
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Match Referee Mike Procter on Monday lauded the visiting Indian team for dropping charges against Australian spinner Brad Hogg.

"It was a magnificent gesture by the Indians," said Procter after the tourists dropped a racial abuse allegation against Hogg.

The hearing of Hogg, scheduled for the evening, ended in a stunning manner when Indians dropped the charge despite believing in themselves that they had a sure winner on their hands.

Hogg was accused by the Indians for abusing Indian captain and vice captain Anil Kumble and Mahendra Singh Dhoni on the fifth afternoon of the Sydney Test last week.

Meanwhile, Hogg himself was relieved that the charge hadn't been pursued against him.

"It's a kind gesture by the Indian team and it's much appreciated by myself and the Australian cricket team," said the spinner.

The tourists hope this goodwill gesture will help them in the case of Harbhajan Singh whose appeal to overturn the three-match ban, for allegedly racially abusing Andrew Symonds, is still pending.

Chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle, however, wasn't sure if the Australians can drop the case against Harbhajan in a similar manner the Indians have done against Hogg.

"Technically, no," said Madugalle, when asked about the possibility.

The Indians had roped in Sourav Ganguly as a witness of the aborted hearing who, despite suffering from high fever, had presented himself for the meeting which never took place.

India captain Anil Kumble said no individual was bigger than the game and his team decided to drop the charges for the sake of the series.

"We made the complaint against Hogg in the heat of the moment and we decided to withdraw it," he said.

"We approached the board today and they gave us permission to do so because we decided to move forward," Kumble said.