NEW DELHI:Indian cricketers have been warned by the BCCI that it will take "serious view" if they behaved improperly or used abusive language on the field.
The warning comes in the backdrop of the racial abuse row involving off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds which has resulted in the former being fined 50 per cent of his match fee.
"I don't think that it is nice for an Indian player to use abusive language. They are ambassadors of the country. They should behave properly. We have told them the board will take serious view of any behaviour unbecoming of an Indian," BCCI President Sharad Pawar said on Saturday.
Pawar also rejected allegations that the BCCI had used its financial clout to get a favourable verdict for Harbhajan, saying that the Board had not blackmailed anybody and the judgment was that of the ICC.
"Australian media projected that we blackmailed the ICC by using our financial clout. We had not blackmailed ICC or anybody," Pawar said.
"It is a bit funny after the matter was resolved, we have been accused of bulldozing the ICC. We have not issued a threat to pull out of the tour. So, where is the question of blackmailing anybody, leave alone ICC," he added.
Pawar said he had only issued a statement that it was difficult to imagine an Indian player charged of racial abuse playing on a cricket field, and said it was not tantamount to issuing a threat.
"I was authorised to take any appropriate decision. I have said it is difficult for the board to digest that an Indian player would be charged of racial abuse and still playing on a cricket filed.
"We did not issue a threat but there was an uneasiness on our part to play cricket in those circumstances. After all, we had to think of the players' concerns also."
Pawar said the board will not tolerate any unsporting behaviour by the players and warned them against using abusive language in future.
"See (Rahul) Dravid, (Anil) Kumble and (Sachin) Tendulkar, they are respected the world over for their on-field conduct. They should be role models for other cricketers," Pawar said.
When asked whether the BCCI handled the Harbhajan issue properly, he said the whole country appreciated the stand taken by it.
"We protected the country's prestige, our players' image.
It is difficult to accept that an India could be a racist. We were the ones who showed the world how to fight racism and it
is unacceptable that an Indian be charged of racism. No Indian can be a racist," he said.
"We were absolutely confident that Harbhajan did not use any racially abusive language, we were confident to get a favourable verdict from the Appeals Commissioner. I was told by Sachin Tendulkar that Harbhajan had not used any racially abusive language. He had used a Punjabi 'gali'," Pawar said.
On why the board and the team management took so long to say that Harbhajan had used a punjabi 'gali' instead of the word "monkey", Pawar said, "The matter was sub-judice and we did not want to issue any public statement."
Pawar reiterated that the Appeals Judge could not have taken new evidence which was not considered by the lower authority.
"Collection of evidence is done by the lower court, that is the normal legal procedure. When a matter goes to superior court, it again considers all the evidence collected by the lower court and takes a decision. The Appeals court can not consider additional evidence," he said.
The BCCI chief also refused to cast motives on the Australian players and denied that they were targeting Harbhajan to "trap" him.
"I don't see any motive (among Australian cricketers) in the issue. The matter has been resolved. We want to move on," he said.