New Delhi: Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has revealed in his new book Captain's Diary that he was warned by a senior Indian cricketer to drop the racism allegation against off-spinner Harbhajan Singh in the controversial Sydney Test early this year.
"On the night after we made our on-field report about Harbhajan, I had a phone conversation with a senior member of the Indian touring party, who asked me straight to drop the complaint," Ponting wrote but refused to name the senior player involved.
"Why do we need to keep it quiet?" I asked. "His reply had nothing to do with Harbhajan's guilt or innocence. This fellow was more concerned with how events were going to transpire and tried to convince me it might not be worth the stress of going ahead with what might well be a prolonged legal process," he added.
"I was determined to see that justice would be done, but I knew from the moment I put my mobile back in my pocket that the investigation might not be as straightforward as the authorities hearing the evidence, making the right decision and then we all move on," he revealed.
"The senior Indian cricketer It would not look good for Indian cricket for one of their senior players to be convicted of racial abuse, and from the time their officials realised we were not going to give ground - which was probably the moment this brief conversation ended - they set out to make sure that did not happen," he added.
The Aussie team had claimed that Harbhajan had racially abused banned all-rounder Andrew Symonds in the controversial Sydney Test, and match referee Mike Procter handed the off-spinner a three-match ban.
Indian team management did not take the ban laying down along with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) fought hard to get the racism charges dropped.
Now with Ponting's revealings, it seems the dead and buried issue might snowball into a new controversy.