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Monday, January 07, 2008

India-Australia Cricket Tour in Jeopardy?

The Indian cricket team, scheduled to leave for Canberra today after their defeat in the second Test against Australia, were still at their hotel in Sydney after boarding the bus and waiting for two hours. They are reportedly awaiting instructions from the BCCI. The BCCI has filed an appeal against Harbhajan Singh's suspension, and stated that he would continue to play until the decision on the appeal.

The ICC might suspend the ban on Harbhajan amidst speculation that the tour might be called off after the controversies surrounding the second Test, and the three-match ban handed down to Harbhajan Singh after allegations of racial abuse. This would be a black mark on his career. The Indian captain, Anil Kumble, had earlier said that only one team played in the spirit of the game. Various umpiring decisions had also been questioned, and Bucknor been asked to be removed for the third test in Perth from January 16th.

Ricky Ponting believed the tour would go ahead. Cricket Australia quoted assurances from the BCCI President, Mr. Sharad Pawar. The BCCI would have to pay a $2.3 million fine if they cancelled the tour. The team's continued stay in Sydney has, however, been backed by the Board, at least until the appeal is filed with the ICC. A statement signed by Mr. Pawar noted in part,

The game of cricket is paramount but so too is the honour of India's cricket team and every Indian,...The BCCI is committed to protect the country's fair name. India's national commitment is against racism. Our national struggle is based on values which negate racism.


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