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Feb 02, 2008 at 10:10am IST

BCCI boss clarifies: India didn't threaten

New Delhi: Even as Team India and Australia battle it out off the field in Australia, putting cricket on a sticky wicket, BCCI President Sharad Pawar says India had at no point threatened to withdraw from the tour in case of an unfavourable verdict in the Harbhajan Singh racial abuse case.

In an exclusive interview with CNN-IBN’s Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advocate, Pawar says that there was no basis for Justice Hansen commenting upon the so-called threat to withdraw

“Who said the decision has been taken? On what basis the gentleman is making that type of statement? We never took a decision like that. There was no specific decision that we had to do this.”

Karan Thapar: But there was no threat of withdrawing the team if the verdict went against you?

Sharad Pawar: No, there was no decision to withdraw the team but there was definitely an uneasiness among the players. If, suppose, the situation came that they had to play with a charge of racism - that was the uneasiness they had and I don't deny it.

Having said that, Pawar also sent out a strong message to the Indian cricket team that any sort of bad language on the field will not be tolerated and strict action will be taken against the erring players.

“We have communicated each and every player that you are representing this country, your role is like an ambassador. Of course we accept that you have not used a racist word, but even gaali galauch (foul language) and use of improper words doesn't suit speak well on any Indian player and they should stop this. Board will take a very serious view if this happens against anybody.

Karan Thapar: The Board will take a very serious view if this happens again?

Sharad Pawar: Yes, that has been communicated.

Pawar has denied the BCCI used its financial muscle to get a favourable decision in the Harbhajan Singh case.

“Where is the question of blackmailing? We are not blackmailing anybody, how will we blackmail anybody? Where is the question of finances? I can't understand why this issue of finance has been raised again and again. It's very funny in our country. When the entire controversy started the media was attacking BCCI (saying) that they are not taking any stand. And when entire issue has been amicably resolved and we got a real good decision from the judge, immediately a section of the media started (saying) BCCI has bulldozed,” he said.

Watch the complete interview with Sharad Pawar on Devil’s Advocate -- Sunday, Feb 3, 2030 hrs (IST). The transcript will be available on ibnlive.com)

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