May 12, 2008 at 03:43pm IST

Debate: Should Bhajji be punished by BCCI too?

The country is caught in the IPL mania, but the one man who must be ruing his luck is, off spinner Harbhajan Singh.

Banned for 11 matches, losing over Rs 3 crore, because in a fit of rage, he slapped his teammate the mercurial Sreesanth.

However there may still be tough times ahead for Harbhajan. Both Bhajji and Sreesanth have appeared before the one man investigating commission headed by well-known jurist Sudhir Nanawati. So what awaits Harbhajan?

Should Bhajji be punished by the BCCI too?

CNN-IBN’s Bhupendra Chaubey asked this question to BCCI’s Appeals Commissioner Sudhir Nanavati and Chief Admin Officer, BCCI Ratnakar Shetty.

Here is an excerpt from the exclusive discussion.

Bhupendra Chaubey: Strictly by law, is Harbhajan Singh guilty? How are you going to determine this? Is it solely on the basis of the pictures that you have seen or are you also looking at past behaviour of the players.

Sudhir Nanavati: That you will find in my final report. The law that means the rule and regulations of the BCCI says that the offence for which Harbhajan Singh is charged is level 4 offence and for which the punishment is also prescribed in the rules and regulation of BCCI itself.

Bhupendra Chaubey: So what are you going to say in your report? Are you going to recommend any punishment or will you just say that this is what the law says and you leave in the hand of the BCCI committee?

Sudhir Nanavati: Wait for sometime more but as far as I am concerned I was to examine the incident to what extend it has happened, if it has happened which were the surrounding circumstances and that I have to interpret.

Bhupendra Chaubey: Mr Ratnakar Shetty how are you going to ensure that the image of cricket in India in general which has really suffered a huge setback because of the entire slap saga. How are you going to retrieve that image?

Ratnakar Shetty: I think the incident itself is very sad which we have mentioned earlier also. It was very unfortunate that two of the Indian players were involved in this incident, which show us in poor light in world cricket also. I will wait for Nanavati to submit his report then there is disciplinary committee consisting of the president who will go into the details and then finally give their verdict.

Bhupendra Chaubey: is the BCCI under pressure from the international cricket fraternity because at the end of the day we saw something happening in Australia few months back, the BCCI took a very tough stand. Is the BCCI under pressure today?

Ratnakar Shetty: I won’t say that we are under pressure but definitely BCCI has taken the first step. IPL on its own conducted an enquiry and very heavy penalty has been put on Harbhajan sending a strong signal to the world cricket that BCCI means business and we want our player to be disciplined. In fact BCCI has taken a stand in the ICC that we are for zero tolerance as far as the behaviour of the players is concerned.

Bhupendra Chaubey: Do you feel that may be Harbhajan Singh this time has crossed his limits? Will the BCCI be under tremendous pressure to act against Harbhajan?

Ratnakar Shetty: It is an incident which has really woken us up also in BCCI. Disciplining a player is one thing but also creating an atmosphere where we start educating our players.

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