LONDON, England, January 30, 2008 – Jamaican-born, West Indies cricket umpire, Steve Bucknor, was canned for the remainder of the series between Australia and India. But the Indian player who allegedly called an Australian player a `monkey` has been found not-guilty.
Racism charges against India’s off-spinner, Harbhajan Singh, were dropped Tuesday after New Zealand High Court Judge John Hansen ruled there was not sufficient evidence to prove an offence under the ICC Code of Conduct, which relates to racially insulting behavior.
Harbhajan was instead charged with abuse and insult not amounting to racism. He pleaded guilty and was fined 50 per cent of his match fees. The new ruling comes after Harbhajan had been found guilty of racist abuse of Andrew Symonds during the Sydney Test in early January and handed a three-Test ban by match referee Mike Procter.
The charge was leveled by the on-field umpires, Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson, on a complaint from Ricky Ponting, Australia’s captain that Harbhajan had called Symonds a monkey. Symonds is of English and West Indian ancestry and was adopted by Aussie parents.
The ruling has outraged the media and many Aussie fans but Cricket Australia and the Board of Control for Cricket in India released a joint statement endorsing the appeal decision.
`Controversy surrounding Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds on day three of the Sydney Test has come to a constructive conclusion,` the statement read. `Singh and Symonds said they had resolved the issue between them in Sydney and now intend to move on. They said they intended to make no further comment on the issue and intended to get on with the game of cricket which is most important to them.
`Both captains also said they were satisfied with the outcome between their players and they looked forward to the cricket ahead.`
Bucknow is now back in his homeland, a disappointed man forced to sit out the remainder of the series after India claimed the umpire made several erroneous decisions, largely against their team, which affected the outcome of the match.
Meanwhile, India and Australia next face each other in a Twenty20 match in Melbourne next month. Symonds was also the butt of racial taunts when he played in India during Australia’s tour in September and October 2007. (CaribWorldNews.com)