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Australia are an arrogant side: Bhajji

Harbhajan says Indians knew this from the start but never expected the Aussies to give so much crap on the field.
Reuters | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2008 10:03 AM IST

Harbhajan Singh has stoked the controversy, which engulfed him on the tour of Australia, describing the world's top-ranked team as "arrogant" and criticising some of their players.

"They (Australia) are an arrogant side," he told the Indian tabloid Mail Today. "They don't mingle with rival teams."

"We knew it from the start but we never expected them to give us so much crap on the field."

Harbhajan was embroiled in a racism row after being accused by Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds of calling him a monkey in the second test in Sydney.

He denied it and was later cleared of racial abuse by governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), but found guilty of the lesser offence of using abusive language.

Opening batsman Matthew Hayden was later reprimanded by Cricket Australia for calling the India off-spinner an "obnoxious weed".

Harbhajan returned home to a hero's welcome on Thursday after India had beaten world champions Australia 2-0 in the finals of the one-day tri-series.

Abusive Language

He said it was tough to concentrate on the game after Sydney where ICC appeals commissioner John Hansen downgraded the charge against him.

"It was of course very difficult to focus on cricket after that Sydney incident," said the spinner. "It was like Harbhajan versus Australia after that."

"But then to come back and play the (fourth and) last test in Adelaide and to perform there was an experience that has made me a much stronger individual."

India lost the test series 2-1.

Harbhajan criticised Hayden and wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist, who retired from international cricket at the end of the tri-series.

"There are times when he doesn't let an opportunity go to waste and says nasty things on the field."

Harbhajan, though, praised paceman Brett Lee.

"Brett Lee never spoke in the same manner as the rest of his teammates," said the Indian. "He never uttered any nonsense to us and kept visiting our dressing room even after Sydney."

"I was proud of the way our team played and I believe we have the potential to be the number one side in the world."

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