New Delhi:India's cricket coach Gary Kirsten does not foresee slap-gate protagonists Harbhajan Singh and S Sreesanth sharing cold vibes in the team's dressing room but the South African says even if it comes to that, he has the man management skills to handle the situation.
"The idea that it will be a problem having the two of them together in the squad is crazy.
"I would like to think me and Paddy (Upton) have enough management experience to cope with anything like that, if it ever did become a problem," Kirsten was quoted as saying by a cricket website.
Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth after an IPL match last month allegedly after being needled by the Kerala pacer.
The temparamental off-spinner was subsequently banned from the entire IPL before being handed an additional five-match ODI ban by the BCCI on Wednesday.
Reflecting on one of the ugliest episodes in Indian cricket, Kirsten said the incident occurred because both Harbhajan and Sreesanth were passionately competitive players who tend to lose control over their temper rather easily.
"They are both very passionate cricketers who, ironically, are as similar off the field as on it. On the friendly side of the boundary rope I have found them to be extremely friendly, inoffensive and helpful people," he said.
"But when they cross the line, literally, they become very passionate and committed their blood boils quickly in the heat of battle," Kirsten said.
Kirsten hoped the the players would realise their mistakes and mend ways after the embarrassment it caused to both of them.
"... they have both made mistakes and they know that. Harbhajan has paid an enormous price for his latest indiscretion and I honestly have no doubt that he has learnt his lesson this time around," he said.
The former Proteas' opener said he spoke to Harbhajan on the matter and revealed the flamboyant bowler was still deeply apologetic about his actions.
"I had a long telephone chat to him recently and he knows he made a big mistake. I think he wanted to know where he stood with me and I was able to reassure him that I wanted him in my team. "He's a passionate cricketer and I want passion in the team, India needs passion to win. Of course, it has to be controlled and ill-discipline is not acceptable. There is a difference between sporting aggression and plain loss of temper, and he knows that," Kirsten said.
Kirsten said Harbhajan was keen to move on and was looking to make a resounding comeback after serving his ban that would see him miss the tri-series against Bangladesh and Pakistan besides two matches of the Asia Cup.
"He's still concerned but he's desperate to put it behind him and move on. He made a bad error of judgments and he's very determined that it won't happen again. And I think he realises the consequences if it does," he said.