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Bhajji leaves BCCI red, 10-match ban looms


Rupha Ramani,CNN-IBN
Apr 27, 2008 at 10:04pm IST

New Delhi: The Harbhajan slap saga took a new turn on Sunday with Shaun Pollock being named as the stand-in skipper for Mumbai Indians. This follows Harbhajan's temporary suspension from the IPL for hitting pacer Sreesanth.

Sources have told CNN-IBN that the Indian off-spinner is set to be banned for 10 matches.

The decision to appoint the experienced Pollock as the skipper was taken after a meeting of the team management and top officials of the franchise owned by Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd.

KNOCK-OUT FROM IPL?: Sources tell CNN-IBN that Harbhajan will be banned for 10 matches.

A weeping Sreesanth left everyone spell-bound on Friday, teammates, fans and the viewers. Harbhajan had slapped him, but why? A combative Harbhajan refused to relent. "I'm here to talk cricket," he said at the post match press conference.

And within hours, a back-door arrangement and apology tunred everything on its head.

"It's okay. Everything is okay," was Sreesanth's version, while Harbhajan said, "He (Sreesanth) is like my little brother."

The big brother reached Mumbai, but his bosses slapped him too, with a temporary ban.

So the Mumbai Indians now needed a stand-in for a stand-in captain. After a few hours of delibaration, Shaun Pollock was named the skipper.

"With Harbhajan not being available owing to the events, it was unanimously decided that Shaun Pollock will be captain for this match (against Hyderabad Deccan Chargers)," said Harsha Bhogle, Advisor of the Mumbai Indians.

A final decision on the Harabhajan slap saga will be taken by the match referee on Monday. But if we rewind back a few months in time, both these players have been on a war path, not against each other but against some or the other.

Who can forget the Andrew Symonds versus Harbhajan saga, which almost disrupted diplomatic relations between the two countries. And then was this, a typical Sreesanth style answer to Andre Nel.

While Harbhajan has always been aggressive, ready for a punch-up almost all the time, Sreesanth has been over the board many times like an instance in England involving captain Michael Vaughan.

Now they may claim that they are brothers. But unlike Sholay's Jay and Veeru, whose dosti is a folklore, their friendship or the lack of it will be perhaps one of the most embarrasing episodes in Indian cricket.

(With Bureau inputs)

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