New Delhi: Harbhajan Singh has been banned from 11-matches in the IPL for slapping S Sreesanth after the game between the Mumbai Indians and the Kings XI Punjab on Friday, but there may be more trouble headed the off-spinner's way with the BCCI planning further action.
Harbhajan and Sreesanth shook hands and hugged each other in front of the cameras just minutes after Harbhajan Singh was told his IPL campaign was effectively over — an 11 match ban which means that over the next month or so, Harbhajan will have plenty of time to sit back and reflect on the five seconds of madness that cost him not just respect, but also a small matter of nearly Rs 3 crore.
"I've made a huge mistake I agree, for which I've been punished and I accept the punishment," says an apologetic Harbhajan.
Harbhajan's fate was pretty much sealed a day after the incident itself when he was temporarily suspended and once the TV footage proved conclusively that Harbhajan had indeed slapped Sreesanth there was no option left.
Chairman & Commissioner, IPL Lalit Modi says, "We take this offence to be extremely serious and we want to make sure that these kinds of offences do not take place in the future."
For Harbhajan however the troubles may not be over just yet as the BCCI has appointed its own commissioner to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within 15 days. Sources tell CNN-IBN that Harbhajan may be slapped with a further ban of up to 10 one-day matches.
Chief Admin Officer BCCI, Ratnakar Shetty says, "It's not the first time that this has happened, there is a history to Harbhajan's behaviour and a strong message has to be sent to the players that the BCCI is not just turning a blind eye."
Some reports suggested that Sreesanth had provoked Harbhajan and his team throughout the game forcing him to lash out but the match referee rejected that claim.
Match Referee Farokh Engineer clarifies, "No there was no provocation at all from Sreesanth but he's also been warned for his future behaviour, as the way he behaved with Kaif wasn't good."
Though the issue may be over for now, but this incident has clearly brought out the ugly face of Indian cricket.