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CA blast ICC for goof up

Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland comes down heavily on the ICC for its gaffe, which resulted in the reprieve of Harbhajan Singh from a 3-test ban

cricket Updated: Jan 31, 2008 14:37 IST

Cricket Australia Chief James Sutherland today came down heavily on the International Cricket Council for its gaffe, which resulted in Harbhajan Singh being reprieved from his three-Test ban.

"If you read the judgement, judge (John) Hansen says the penalty would have been different if he had some facts in front of him," Sutherland said.

"From that point of view, that's disappointing, I am disappointed, Cricket Australia is disappointed," he said.

Harbhajan was given the ban by match referee Mike Procter on Jaunary 6 on Andrew Symonds' complaint that Harbhajan called him "monkey" but ICC appointed appeals commissioner Justice John Hansen of New Zealand overturned the decision, citing lack of evidence.

ICC accepted that it had bungled up up by not tabling in front of Hansen the full background of Harbhajan Singh, something which could have resulted in bigger penalty for the Indian off-spinner.

"It's very unfortunate that human error led to Justice Hanser not having the full history of Harbhajan's previous Code of Conduct breaches and the ICC accepts the responsibility for this mistake," ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed said.

Sutherland, however, said the Australian Board would speak to all rounder Symonds as he chose not to defend himself ahead of the Twenty20 clash against India.

"Absolutely, we will take the opportunity to talk at the right time to Andrew and other players and the players as a group about some of the circumstances and some of the things that are reported in the judgement," Sutherland said.

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

"But no doubt with Andrew, as there with many other people, somethings for him toe reflect on."

Symonds, when contacted, said he was not going to talk on the matter.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting also came out in open to defend Symonds, saying it was "unfair" to criticise the all rounder.

"I think any sort of character assassination on Andrew Symonds as a result of this would be completely unfair," he said reacting to Hansen's observation that Symonds instigated the verbal exchange.

"He is someone that doesn't want this stuff happening obviously. It's the second time he has been through this stuff and the last thing he wants. But what I know is he is a terrific bloke, a very honest bloke and he is a great teammate of mine," he said.