'Procter took Aussies' word, no proof'
A leaked copy of Procter's statement confirms the ICC match referee merely took an Australian's word over an Indian's while banning Bhajji.cricket Updated: Jan 26, 2008 08:34 IST
<b1>From the day Harbhajan Singh was banned for three Tests by ICC Match referee Mike Procter after the latter found him guilty of racially abusing Andrew Symonds during the second Test, the Indians have maintained that the decision was biased and unfair because Procter had no proof. They insisted that he was merely taking an Australian's word over an Indian's.
Late on Friday night, India time, four days before Harbhajan's appeal against Procter's decision is to be heard in Adelaide, a leaked copy of Procter's statement was splashed across the internet, confirming that Procter did exactly that.
In it, Procter writes, "The first issue for me is did Harbhajan Singh say the word "monkey" or "big monkey"? I have heard evidence from Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke and Mathew Hayden that he did say these words. Harbhajan Singh denies saying these words. Both umpires did not hear nor did Ricky Ponting or Sachin Tendulkar. I am satisfied and sure beyond reasonable doubt that Harbhajan Singh did say these words."
In the statement, Procter goes on to say that while (Indian manager) Chetan Chauhan indicated there was reasonable doubt because the umpires and other players did not hear the words, in his own judgment, "they would not have been in a position to hear them".
And then he adds, "…I am satisfied that the words were said and that the complaint to the umpires, which forms this charge, would not have been put forward falsely, I dismiss any suggestion of motive or malice."
He also goes on to say that he was convinced that Harbhajan intended to insult Symonds (on the basis of race, colour or ethnic origin). It is one thing for the Indian camp to say Procter had no proof. If this is really Procter's ruling in full, it proves it. And now, this is bound to raise a whole lot of ugly issues and another possible racial controversy on why Procter believed the Aussies.