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Bhajji for Brad, an Indian offer

The Indian side says they will withdraw their complaint against Brad Hogg if the Aussies don't push Harbhajan Singh's case, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.
Hindustan Times | By Atreyo Mukhopadhyay, Canberra
UPDATED ON JAN 13, 2008 03:35 AM IST

The Indian team's pleasant stay here is over. After days of acrimony and controversy, the locals welcomed them warmly by appreciating good deeds on the field and thronging the hotel in the evenings for autographs and photographs.

As they head for Perth after visiting the Indian High Commissioner on Saturday evening, the team has already started thinking of what lies ahead, on and off the field. With the prospect of facing four fast bowlers on a bouncy track looming large, they are also getting ready for the battle to overturn the three-Test ban on Harbhajan Singh.

No date for the hearing of the appeal has been finalised yet but some in the team management confirmed that they want it to get over before the third Test starts on Wednesday, though none were willing to go on record. "It should be done away with before the match because the players shouldn't go into such a crucial game thinking about what might happen on this front," said a senior member of the tour party.

He said the team's argument before John Hansen, appointed to hear the case, will remain the same as it was in front of match referee Mike Procter. "We have always maintained that he didn't use any foul word and will continue doing so." The member, however, hinted at a compromise wherein India would withdraw their complaint against Brad Hogg if Australia didn't push the Harbhajan case.

"Talks are on, I can't say more at this moment. You are free to interpret it the way you like," said the member. After reaching Perth, both teams will also have a session with Ranjan Madugalle, appointed by the ICC to broker peace. This meeting is expected on Monday, though it's not clear when.

Kirsten in Perth

India's coach-designate Gary Kirsten will also meet the players in Perth. The former South African opener was expected to reach the city on Saturday evening, according to members of the team management, though it couldn't be confirmed whether he would stay back for the Adelaide Test.

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