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Sutherland disappointed by Harbhajan punishment

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland expresses his disappointment over Harbhajan Singh's reprieve.

cricket Updated: Jan 31, 2008 11:38 IST

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has expressed disappointment that India's Harbhajan Singh did not get a more severe punishment for verbally abusing Australia's Andrew Symonds.

On Tuesday, International Cricket Council (ICC) appeals commissioner John Hansen downgraded the charges against Harbhajan from racial abuse to using abusive language due to a lack of evidence.

The off-spinner consequently escaped a three-match suspension and was fined half his match fee.

"Judge Hansen says the penalty would have been different if he had had facts in front of him," Sutherland told reporters on Thursday.

"From that point of view, that's disappointing, I'm disappointed, Cricket Australia is disappointed, it sounds like the judge is disappointed too."

However, Sutherland said CA was ready to move on.

"The judge's decision is final, we accept that, there was an unfortunate error in circumstances that led to him not having all the facts in front of him at that time, but that's gone," he added.

"It's unfortunate that it has gone on so long. It's an opportunity to reflect and to learn from this and we will, but now's the time really to focus on what's really important and that's the game of cricket."

Sutherland said Symonds would also learn from the incident that marred Australia's Sydney test victory at the start of January.

"Andrew Symonds is a brilliant cricketer, he's a tough, uncompromising cricketer in terms of the way he plays the game," Sutherland said.

"He plays the game like most Australians are brought up to play. There's no doubt for Andrew there are probably some things for him to reflect on."