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Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Saturday, 26 April 2008 17:52 UK

Harbhajan suspended after 'slap'

Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan tried to play down the incident following the game

India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has been suspended pending an inquiry into claims he slapped an opposition player during an Indian Premier League game.

Harbhajan was captaining Mumbai Indians when he allegedly slapped Kings XI Punjab and India paceman Sree Santh.

TV pictures showed Santh crying at the end of the game, which his side won.

India's board of control will hold an inquiry on Monday and if found guilty, Harbhajan could face a number of punishments including a life ban.

The Punjab team management have lodged a formal complaint and he is expected to be charged under level 4 of the International Cricket Council Code of Conduct which relates to assaulting a fellow player.

"The BCCI condemns the behaviour of Harbhajan Singh as a contracted player of the board.

"And he is called upon to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him and has been asked for clarification by Monday evening," board secretary Niranjan Shah said.

BBC reporter Rahul Tandon said: "This is now going to be a big issue for those who are running the IPL to deal with.

"It's the only story in town and it's going to develop. This story is going to dominate the news for the next couple of days.


"I would think the IPL will have to come down very strongly on this."

Moody described the incident as "unacceptable" but revealed Harbhajan had visited their dressing room after the game for a "long chat" with Santh, his team-mate in India's national side.

"At the end of the day, players shake hands, but what we saw was something you don't want to see. I am not sure what the ramifications this incident will have," Moody said.

Harbhajan, in a TV interview, insisted the matter was not serious.

"It is not such a big issue the way people are making it out to be. It is between me and Sree," he commented.

Harbhajan is leading the Mumbai team because Sachin Tendulkar, who celebrated his 35th birthday on Thursday, is struggling with a groin injury, but they have lost all three IPL matches so far.

see also
India's elite await IPL riches
18 Apr 08 |  Cricket
Indian Premier League team guide
15 Apr 08 |  Cricket
How will the IPL change cricket?
17 Apr 08 |  Cricket
IPL founder warns England stars
15 Apr 08 |  Cricket
Counties in India's shadow
15 Apr 08 |  Counties

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