Harbhajan's appeal to be heard after Test series

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Dubai, Jan 14 (UNI) Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh's appeal over his three-match ban will be heard only after the ongoing Test series between Australia and India gets over, giving him an oppurtunity to play in the Perth and Adelaide Test.

New Zealand judge John Hansen, the commissioner appointed to hear the appeal, has agreed to hold the hearing after the fourth Test in Adelaide following formal requests from Cricket Australia (CA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The hearing will take place on January 29 and 30 in Adelaide, before the Twenty20 International and subsequent ODI tri-series.

''An allegation was made against Harbhajan under the ICC Code of Conduct and he was found guilty by the Match Referee. As is his right under the code, Harbhajan has chosen to have the evidence tested at an appeal before an independent Code of Conduct Commissioner,'' said ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed.

''The ICC Members put this appeals process in place in 2002 in order to ensure that an aggrieved player has every opportunity to argue his case.

''We would have preferred the appeal to be held earlier but it was not possible. Both CA and the BCCI have requested the hearing to be held after the Test series for logistical reasons and, following due consideration, Justice Hansen agreed,'' Spped added.

''The reality is that it is likely to go into a second day as lawyers will be involved so we needed to have two clear days to assign to it. With just three full days between the third and fourth Tests, we were conscious of the teams' travel arrangements and preparations for the match,'' he said.

The provisions of the ICC Code of Conduct indicate that the hearing should be held within seven days of the commissioner being appointed but as previously advised, it may be delayed if circumstances make it unfeasible and the commissioner agrees, as in this case.

Harbhajan was banned for three Tests after being found guilty under Level 3 of the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct following an incident that took place during the second Test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

ICC match referee Mike Procter handed Harbhajan the ban on the ground that he made a racist remark against Andrew Symonds.

The offence falls under 3.3 of the ICC Code of Conduct which refers to players or team officials ''using language or gestures that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person's race, religion, gender, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin''.

Players found guilty of Level 3 offences face penalties in the range of a ban of two to four Test matches or four to eight ODI's.

In accordance with the ICC Code of Conduct, players found guilty of Level 2, 3 or 4 offences have to the right to an appeal. In this case, New Zealand Cricket's representative on the ICC Code of Conduct Commission, Justice John Hansen, has been appointed to hear the appeal.

Justice Hansen has the power to increase, decrease, amend or otherwise substitute his own decision from that made at the previous hearing, and his decision is final and binding.

Once Justice Hansen has reached his decision, he must provide it in writing to ICC's Senior Counsel and Company Secretary Urvasi Naidoo, who will then forward it to Harbhajan, Match Referee Mike Procter and ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed ahead of any public announcement.

In the mean time, according to the Code of Conduct regulations, Harbhajan may continue to play pending verdict of the appeal being given.

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