Team India may scrap Oz ODI tour if Bhajji is penalized

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Adelaide, Jan 28 : The Indian cricket team's tour of Australia is in trouble, as its members have hinted that it may be called off if racial charges against offspinner Harbhajan Singh are not dropped.

The team management revealed their plans on the final day of the Adelaide Test after New Zealand Judge John Hansen suggested that fresh evidence could be taken into account in the hearing on Tuesday.

"There may be some additional evidence, such as the transcript available from the stump microphone, which was not available to Mike Procter," Judge John Hansen of the New Zealand High Court said.

The team management is unhappy about additional 'evidence' being taken into account, when it was not in the previous hearing of the case.

A senior board official said evidence could be tampered with, and the board wouldn't allow this so-called fresh evidence to surface after so many days.

A senior BCCI official I S Bindra has been in Australia for the past week to settle the controversial issue with Cricket Australia (CA), President Craig OConnor.

It may be recalled that Match Referee Mike Procter slapped Harbhajan Singh with a three-match ban after the Sydney Test for allegedly racially abusing Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds whose point was supported by three members of his team.

Sachin Tendulkar's version of the episode was not taken into account.

If indeed some fresh evidence emerges which weakens Harbhajan's case and allows the ban to continue, the forthcoming triangular series could be in jeopardy as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has threatened to pull out of the tour over the issue.

The procedures outlined by Justice Hansen states that there will be a re-hearing with evidence being given by all witnesses.

The hearing will be held in private at a federal court in Adelaide from tomorrow. Both counsels will be given an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses, though it is a sporting disciplinary hearing. The evidence gathered will not be on oath.

Justice Hansen has declared that after he arrives at a decision, he would forward his ruling to Harbhajan, Procter and the ICC.

If Harbhajan is proved guilty and the Indian board is to carry out its threat, the damages for abandoning the tour could amount to 2.3 million Australian dollars.

ANI

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