harbhajan singh

Looking for hate in all the wrong places

OK class, repeat after me:
"Monkey is not a racist word in Australia."

It's not, in general. There is, however, a long history of "monkey" being used as a term of racial derision in Britain and continental Europe against people of African or Caribbean heritage, most prominently on the football field. Andrew Symonds, born in Birmingham of Jamaican parents, and an immigrant to Australia as a child, comes into this category.

It woz Roy wot started it

Justice Hansen's report on the Harbhajan Singh appeal case arrived from the ICC in the form of a 22-page document yesterday evening. The Australian has converted it to one very long HTML page - but beware, it contains:

  • Frequent Coarse Language (in English and Punjabi),
  • Violence (Harbhajan Singh slapping Brett Lee's buttock),
  • Sexual References (see Frequent Coarse Language and Violence),
  • Horror (the ICC's disciplinary records database),
  • Adult Themes (discussion of the appropriate standard of proof with reference to "The Queen on the application of Dr Harish Doshi v the Southend-On-Sea Primary Care Trust"), and
  • Not-At-All-Adult-Themes (see Frequent Coarse Language, Violence, and Horror).

Welcome to Collusion Central

Harbhajan Singh's successful appeal against his Level 3 transgression, and its replacement with a Level 2 charge, seems on the surface of things to be the right decision, though I think the penalty imposed (50 per cent of his "match fee" - whatever that is) is light. The use of obscene language in an abusive context, regardless of the language in which it is spoken, is abhorrent.

We will know later today more about Justice Hansen's reasons for the findings when he releases his full written statement. Meanwhile, the reports that are coming out concerning back-room deals before the appeal hearing are very disturbing.

Is Team India attempting to pervert the course of justice?

The hearing of Harbhajan Singh's appeal against his ICC Code of Conduct breach has begun in camera in Adelaide today. Appeals Commissioner, Justice John Hansen, briefed the media yesterday on the procedures to be undertaken.

With due legal process taking its course under the watchful eye of a New Zealand High Court judge, why then:

  1. Is the BCCI demanding that Harbhajan Singh be found not guilty?
  2. Has the Indian team refused to travel from Adelaide to Melbourne today as scheduled until the outcome of Harbhajan's appeal is handed down tomorrow?
  3. Have Indian team sources claimed that the squad will return home if Harbhajan's "racism" charge is not dropped?

Are they attempting to influence the outcome of the appeal through public threats? Are they going to refuse to accept any decision they don't like? Having had the appeal hearing delayed until the conclusion of the Test series, are they trying to do "whatever it takes" to keep Harbhajan Singh available for selection for the Indian eleven?

"Attempting to pervert the course of justice" - does this rather ugly cap fit the BCCI head?

Faqih, you got him third ball!

It was during the one-day tri-series of 1981-82. Australia versus Pakistan, from memory I think it was the Adelaide Oval game. Javed Miandad, a few weeks after his legendary contretemps with Dennis Lillee, was in hot water for apparently being overhead shouting the F-word to Greg Chappell as the Australian captain was leaving the field after being dismissed.

In the days well before codes of conduct and match referees, Javed explained that he was actually greeting the successful wicket-taker, off-spinning all-rounder Ijaz Faqih.

Javed's words to Ijaz in Urdu translate into English as, "Faqih, you got him third ball!"

Harbhajan and due process

There's so many strands to follow at the moment. Let's start with the central issue.

Harbhajan Singh has been found guilty by ICC match referee Mike Procter of a Level 3 breach of the Code of Conduct that relates to comments vilifying players on the basis of, among other options, race, ethnicity or colour. The full ICC press release concerning the hearing can be read here.

Harbhajan is alleged to have used the word "monkey" to Andrew Symonds - though I notice that there seems to be no finding explicitly stating that he actually called Symonds a "monkey".

There appear to have been five witnesses giving evidence at Sunday night's hearing in addition to the two protagonists. Sachin Tendulkar, who was Bhajju's batting partner at the time, and four Australian fielders: Ponting, Hayden, Gilchrist and Michael Clarke. Neither umpire witnessed the alleged remark.