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Last Updated: Monday, 3 March 2008, 09:44 GMT
Harbhajan taunt claims dismissed
Harbhajan took two wickets in India's six-wicket win in Sydney
Harbhajan took two wickets in India's six-wicket win in Sydney
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has moved swiftly to dismiss suggestions India's Harbhajan Singh racially abused Australian fans.

It was claimed he made monkey gestures and spat at sections of the crowd as India beat Australia in Sydney.

Match referee Jeff Crowe spoke to security officials, viewed photographs and read newspaper reports before deciding there was no case to answer.

He said: "There is no need to take any action against Harbhajan Singh."

Before the ICC gave its verdict, India were insistent Harbhajan was innocent.

"He did nothing," said team manager Bimal Soni.

"These stories, I do not believe them and strongly condemn them. I think it is wrong.

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"Nothing has been done like that, they are making a mountain out of a molehill."

Before the ICC announcement, former Australia skipper Allan Border also came out in defence of Harbhajan, saying: "I am not too sure how serious it is.

"I was on that side of the ground yesterday and Harbhajan was copping a fair bit of stick from the crowd.

"I didn't notice any gestures at all and I thought he handled himself quite well to be quite honest."

The allegations are the latest to affect India's controversial tour of Australia.

Harbhajan was initially banned for three Tests for allegedly calling Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds a monkey during the second Test in January.

But at an appeal hearing it was decided there had not been enough evidence to convict him of racial abuse.

The ICC instead charged him with using abusive language. Harbhajan was fined and did not serve any ban.

Australia batsman Matthew Hayden was reprimanded on 27 February for describing Harbhajan as an "obnoxious weed".

In between times, India cricket chiefs have proposed a complete ban on 'sledging' - the verbal abuse of players.

During India's time in Australia there have been suggestions their players have been goaded into over-stepping the mark.

When young India bowler Ishant Sharma was fined on 25 February for an aggressive gesture directed at Symonds, Crowe said: "Sharma may have been provoked."

The ICC says its existing "code of conduct" - combined with the actions of on-field umpires - can help implement a "zero-tolerance" approach to sledging.



SEE ALSO
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India act over Aussie 'sledging'
26 Feb 08 |  Cricket
The truth about sledging
22 Feb 08 |  Cricket
India withdraw Hogg abuse charge
14 Jan 08 |  Cricket
Australia v India - the verdicts
09 Jan 08 |  Cricket
Support grows for umpire Bucknor
09 Jan 08 |  Cricket
Indian fans vent their anger
08 Jan 08 |  Cricket
Vincent upset by Aussie sledging
31 Jan 07 |  England


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