Decision on Harbhajan Singh today

Off-spinner's fate will be decided today by DLF Indian Premier League match referee Farooq Engineer.

updated: May 03, 2008 18:08 IST
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Monday is D-Day for Harbhajan Singh as the off-spinner's fate will be decided by DLF Indian Premier league match referee Farokh Engineer.

Leniency seems to be out of the question because many people feel that Bhajji has gone too far this time and the punishment he receives is likely to set example and be deterrent for others.

Farokh Engineer refused to reveal what lies in store for Harbhajan Singh. The Mumbai Indians' acting captain could miss the rest of the DLF Indian Premier League for slapping Sreesanth in the game against Kings XI Punjab.

"You are trying to stump me, aren't you? Being a wicket-keeper, I can read all the googlys," said Engineer.

"I can assure you Harbhajan will be given a fair trial. Let's see what he has to say," he added.

Sources within the Indian team have told NDTV that while Harbhajan Singh is guilty for sure. Sreesnath has not got too many fans either with his boorish behaviour and it is said that he should be punished as well.

But former cricketers believe that would be wrong.

"What you are saying is that Andrew Symonds has every right to sock Harbhajan Singh because he has provocated him. What you are trying to say is that Andrew Symonds should be allowed to sock Harbhajan Singh. You can't justify two mistakes," said Ajay Jadeja, former Indian cricket player.

For the fans, the biggest concern is how this will impact the Indian team. The fact is that three senior Indian players have been involved in letting each other down.

"Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis never spoke to each other for four to five years but that was the worst phase for batsmen all over the world. They had their personal differences but that got them to compete even harder," said Jadeja.

So the biggest loser will be Harbhajan Singh, not just for turning the gentleman's game into a slugfest but for giving the Australians the high moral ground.

Meanwhile, the BCCI has appointed Sudhir Nanavati to look into the disciplinary charges against the off-spinner.

Nanavati will submit his report within 15 days to BCCI President Sharad Pawar.