Mumbai: It's now almost certain that Harbhajan Singh will face no more than a ban of five to 10 One-Day Internationals for slapping S Sreesanth after the Indian Premier League match between Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab on April 25.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appointed Appeals Commissioner Sudhir Nanavati submitted his report on Tuesday to the BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty in Mumbai.
While he didn't recommend any punishment, all indications are that Harbhajan is safe.
Nanavati is convinced that his 14-page report will be all that the BCCI needs to arrive at a final decision.
"It is going to be seen by them as if the incident happened before their eyes. It will be a mirror image. I have prepared the report in such a way that it will be easy for them to reach their own conclusion," Nanavati said.
So Nanavati's job is over and now the ball is in the BCCI's court. A Disciplinary Committee chaired by BCCI President Sharad Pawar will now meet and take a final decision on the quantum of punishment but that may take a while yet though.
"I have not seen the report. So how can I react? I am hearing from you that the report has been submitted," Pawar said in New Delhi.
So what lies hidden inside the pages of the report that hasn't been made public yet.
Sources tell CNN-IBN that the report says:
- While slapping a colleague is totally unacceptable Nanavati feels the off-spinner has already been punished and should be given one more chance.
- Match referee Farokh Engineer echoed the same sentiments saying what Harbhajan did is indefensible but has been punished heavily for it already.
- On-field umpire Amiesh Saheba told Nanavati that there were three incidents in the match where Sreesanth provoked the Mumbai team.
- And Sreesanth himself said that he knows Harbahajan's actions weren't intentional and wants to forgive and forget.
Harbhajan was very apologetic and didn't counter any of the charges against him and promised never to repeat his mistake.
The episode has been going on for weeks and every party associated with it is looking for a closure and none more than Harbhajan who now wants to move on and get an opportunity to play cricket.
(With inputs from Nishant Arora)