Ban on Harbhajan Singh

It is clearly ironic that Aussies who are master-sledgers are now complaining about a comment made by Harbhajan Singh against Symonds, gave it a racial flavour and turned it successfully into a ban against the spinner for 3 tests.

In the absence of any clear evidence against the player except the testimony of the Aussie cricketers (which would naturally be anti-Singh), it is surprising that the hearing took six and half hours. What is even more sad is that despite the submission by the umpires that they did not hear  any such comments, Match referee Mike Proctor has chosen to impose a very stiff punishment.

I do not know if Harbhajan Singh has had a past record of abuse in the field (racial or otherwise)  and if he had one, then it would have damaged his chances of a reprieve.  Even then, he could have been reprimanded and let off with a warning.

Now the BCCI is trying to fight back by complaining against Brad Hogg and so it has become tit-for-tat.  There is even some rumour that the tour can be called off but that would be  simply juvenile and I hope that BCCI doesn’t even consider that just to prove some non-existent point.

It is also ironic that the South African Proctor (who comes from the Nation that once supported Apartheid) is taking decisions on racial abuse!!

Strange are the ways of International Cricket!



  1. Carl! said,

    January 7, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    There is a clear and obvious difference between a ‘sledge’ and racial abuse. Every nation should take a heavy stance against the latter, regardless of their history in the former.

    If Singh did name Symonds a ‘monkey’, it was racial abuse, and he knew it. The scene had already been set on such comments after the recent Australian tour to India. It is impossible to weasel out on account of an ‘ignorance’ plea.

    Seeing as Proctor did manage to find a case against Singh (I’m not sure how either, but hey, he did), then it is necessary to suspend Singh: there should be absolutely zero tolerance for racist attitudes.

    Lastly, I’m not sure being South African precludes you from understanding racism – if anything I think it would give you a greater understanding of its destructive potential.

  2. badrirag said,

    January 7, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    I really like it! Calling somebody ‘monkey’ means racial? Which race? The monkey race? If the face of Symonds reminds Harbhajan of a monkey and he says so, its in poor taste and personally deplorable. I don’t see any racial in that. Symonds being a native and belonging to the ‘Aborigines’ doesn’t make him a ready target for criticism or fun but this is really ‘monkey business’ (I hope nobody calls me a racist for making this comment)

    Proctor, imho, as the match referee has nothing to do with anything else apart from the match. In fact, he should have done something about the shoddy umpiring that had a direct bearing on the outcome of the match. Rather, he is concerned with something that individuals need to sort out between themselves as gentlemen. The institution of the Match referee is quite unnecessary and that too with such sweeping powers. We have had hundreds of test matches without this position and without such incidents.

    Like giving a sinecure positions for the disgruntled elements (ala Governors in India and the upper house in UK), perhaps ICC has created this role.

  3. January 7, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    […] against Brad Hogg. I’m also against this punishment on Singh and you can read my post on this issue but I’m not treating this as a national insult that warrants a call-off. The […]

  4. Carl! said,

    January 8, 2008 at 1:48 am

    Firstly, Symonds is of West Indian descent.

    And while I can understand that culturally, Indian’s don’t consider the term ‘monkey’ as racist, the fact remains that Symonds, and the rest of the Australian team does. That’s like an Australian calling an Indian a ‘wog’, where in Australia, the term is an ‘endearment’ to people of Greco/Roman descent. It’s not up to the ‘insulter’ to decide the terms on which the ‘insultee’ categorizes the comment.

    Singh knew, when he allegedly called Symonds a monkey, that the Australian found it a racially offensive term. I re-iterate: the Australian’s had made their interpretation of such terms exceedingly clear after their recent tour to India. The BCCI even agreed, arresting fans hurling the same insult. It is not good enough to now claim ignorance of this fact.

  5. badrirag said,

    January 8, 2008 at 2:32 am

    Carl! Thanks for pointing out Symonds’ origin and my apologies for the error.

    My query again “What is racial about the word monkey?”. Yeah Symonds and the Australian team might take offense at the use of that word but there is nothing racist about that. And if the insultee decides what is racist, then can I take the term ‘mate’ as racist with the twist of the word to mean ‘mating’? Many Indian Sikhs have been called ‘Turbans’ and so is that ‘racist’?

    I repeat that if Harbhajan used the word ‘monkey’ against Symonds, it is in very poor taste and Singh should take responsibility for that! But ‘racism’ and 3 match ban are certainly not on!

    I like your spirit of defending the Aussie side and we need that to bring some balance to this entire discussion. Thanks also for your excellent choice of words.

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