He has been given a 11 match ban
Harbhajan Singh, India’s star bowler and a key player for the Mumbai Indians faces a ban from the IPL and five One Day International (ODI) games.
This is for his conduct versus player Shanthakumaran Sreesanth whom he slapped after the IPL game between the Mumbai indians and Punjab King’s XI.
Harbhajan, known as ‘bhajji’ was immediately suspended by IPL organisers as he played as the the stand-in captain of the Mumbai team. The suspension is pending two separate disciplinary hearings. It is possible that his unacceptable behavior could lead to a 10-match ban or even more.
The attack took place in the Punjab city of Mohali during the conclusion of the match between the two teams when the players approached each other to shake hands. It is reported that Harbhajan, slapped Sreesnath below the eye using the back of his hand.
Live television broadcasts of the game showed Sreesanth crying and in tears following the incident. Players of the Punjab team, along with Preity Zinta, who is a co-owner of the Punjab team came to his aid and consoled him. Tom Moody, coach of Punjab spoke out of the clash and said the incident was “unacceptable.”
The tape of the attack was passed onto officials. The video evidence of what happened was enough to direct an instant suspension on Harbhajan said IPL commissioner, Lalit Modi. “It looks like a serious matter the way it’s being shown on television channels but I can’t say anything now. In any tournament it should not happen, it’s unfortunate what happened yesterday,” Modi said to reporters in Chandigarh.
Fans have not been impressed with Harbhajan’s behavior saying that more was expected from a senior national player and he has tarnished the IPL with this erratic conduct. Something fans do not want to see in such a highly publicised league and the reputation it wants to sustain.
Yuvraj Singh, the captain of the Punjabi team was not pleased with the incident and has been reported to be lodging a complaint against Harbhajan Singh.
Both players have tried to play the incident down. Harbhajan later apologised to the paceman in the dressing room of the Punjab team. Sreesanth has also spoken regarding the matter and said “Everything is normal, there is nothing between us.”
After an official hearing on Monday on 28th April 2008 in New Delhi, Harbhajan has been banned from the IPL. He has been given a 11 match ban and this means he will be out of the first season of the IPL. He was fined all of his earnings for the Friday game by Farookh Engineer, the former Indian wicketkeeper who was the match referee.
Sreesanth was given a warning for his provocation behaviour during the hearing.
Lalchand Rajput who is the coach of the Mumbai Indians was fined half of his wages after being found guilty of a level 2 offence.
In front of cameras, after the hearing, the two players hugged each other and Harbhajan apologised for his behavior and his conduct.
The BCCI, the Board of Control for Cricket in India after a separate investigation into the same incident have also banned him. The BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said that the committee accordingly decided to ban Harbhajan Singh for five one-day internationals and observed that any further instance of misconduct will invoke a life ban.
In summary, the whole escapade has not left Harbhajan in good light as a player or icon for Indian and IPL cricket.