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Sutherland talks tough on Bhajji issue

Cricket Australia's chief executive says taking matters to the media is no excuse for professional sportsmen governed by a code of conduct, reports Anand Vasu.

cricket Updated: Mar 11, 2008 01:40 IST
Anand Vasu

Cricket Australia's bosses are refusing to back down on the Harbhajan Singh issue.

“Two wrongs don't make a right. Taking matters to the media is no excuse for professional sportsmen governed by a code of conduct,” James Sutherland, CA's chief executive, wrote in his latest email to the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Sutherland was referring to comments in a Delhi-based tabloid that quoted Harbhajan as saying Matthew Hayden was “a big liar” and that Adam Gilchrist was “no saint”, comments that Harbhajan has since denied at a press conference in
Jallandhar.

Sutherland re-iterated CA's demand that the BCCI take action against Harbhajan, accusing the BCCI of operating under “double standards” in this issue. Hayden was earlier reprimanded by CA for calling Harbhajan a "little obnoxious weed" on a radio channel, and Sutherland wanted similar action taken against Harbhajan.

However, as one senior board official pointed out, the BCCI had not demanded that action be taken in that case, and it was CA who decided to give Hayden a rap on the knuckles.

Sutherland's latest response, received by Niranjan Shah, the secretary of the BCCI, on Sunday came after Shah had sent an email to Sutherland on the same subject.

“I understand your sentiments,” Shah had written.

“The BCCI has instructed Harbhajan Singh and all of the other players to not talk about the incidents in Australia to the media, but you must also understand that Harbhajan Singh too is hurt by statements made by Matthew Hayden to the media. Let us put all this behind us and ask our players to refrain from talking to the media.”

The email exchange had been begun by Sutherland, who earlier wrote, “Enough is enough. Despite assurances that you have instructed him not to fuel this issue any more, Harbhajan continues to say whatever he wants. When will it ever end? Could you please deal with your player in regard to these comments?”

The BCCI has warned Harbhajan not to talk to the media twice since this incident occurred, first through an SMS and then with an official phone call.