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Team India says let off Bhajii or Oz tour off

CNN-IBN
Jan 28, 2008 at 05:44pm IST

New Delhi: India’s second leg in Australia is under threat. Sources tell CNN-IBN that Indian players have said they would withdraw from the series unless the racial abuse charge against off-spinner Harbhajan Singh is dropped.

The Indian team is adamant that they will not settle for anything less than an acquittal, sources tell CNN-IBN.

John Hansen, the Appeals Commissioner appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), said on Monday morning that there is fresh evidence in the case in the form of transcript from a stump microphone.

"There may be some additional evidence, such as the transcript available from the stump microphone, which was not available to (Mike) Procter (the match referee)," said Hansen, a judge from New Zealand.

The Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided not accept this fresh evidence and has questioned why it was not presented in the first hearing. The Australian team is not willing to back down on the charges against Singh, sources said.

Former cricketer Anshuman Gaekwad told CNN-IBN Indian cricketers are doing the right thing by defending Harbhajan, but felt a decision on calling off the tour should be taken only by the BCCI.

“It is very unfortunate; cricket is bigger than anything. The case is with ICC. The boys are together and defending Harbhajan—that’s how a team should be. This can happen and this can go on and then what happens to cricket?” he said.

“If they have evidence which shows that Harbhajan has done something wrong but I don’t know how come these things were captured on the camera or even as sound. Harbhajan has not committed a crime—it’s a small issue,” said Gaekwad.

Singh is accused of using a racist slur against Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds in the Sydney test. He was slapped with a three-match ban by Procter.

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