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Last Updated: Monday January 07 2008 13:59 GMT

Row over India cricketer race ban

Indian cricket fans protesting (Photo: MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

India have stopped playing matches in their Australian cricket tour after one of their team was banned from playing.

Bowler Harbhajan Singh denies breaking the rules of how cricketers should behave by saying something racist to an Australian player.

Harbhajan is appealing against his three-match ban, and his team won't carry on unless he's allowed to play.

Meanwhile in India, unhappy cricket fans have been burning pictures of the Australian team.

There had been tension between the two teams leading up to the name-calling incident, which happened during the second Test of the series.

In that match, Harbhajan, 27, was accused of calling Australian player Andrew Symonds a "monkey".

All-rounder Symonds, 32, is the only player on the Australian team who is not white.

After the match, a four-hour investigation was held by the referee Mike Procter.

Harbhajan Singh in an earlier match in India (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Harbhajan Singh has played for India since 1998

Following the hearing, Mr Procter said he was satisfied Harbhajan had used the word, although the two umpires did not hear him say it.

'False'

But the Indian board of cricket said the claims against Harbhajan were not true.

In a statement, the Indian cricket chiefs said they would fight the "false and unfair slur on an Indian player".

The Indian team members are still in Australia, but they have been told to stay in Sydney, rather that travel to Canberra to play their next tour match.

But Australian cricket chief James Sutherland said he was still expecting the tour to carry on as planned.

He suggested the captains of the two teams should meet to try and sort things out.



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