New Delhi, Feb 2 (UNI) Under fire for allegedly using its financial muscle to get the racial abuse charges against Harbhajan Singh dropped, the BCCI has asserted that it never used its clout to cloud the ICC judgment on this issue.
''The Indian Cricket Board does not believe in poltics of blackmail The Australian media projected that we blackmailed the ICC by using our financial clout. We had not blackmailed ICC or anybody,'' BCCI chief Sharad Pawar told Karan Thapar in the 'Devil's Advocate' programme on CNN-IBN.
Pawar expressed surprise that after the matter has been sorted out amicably unsubstantiated charges are being lobbed at the BCCI, ''It is a bit funny after the matter was resolved, we have been accused of bulldozing the ICC. We have not issued a threat to pull out of the tour. So, where is the question of blackmailing anybody, leave alone ICC.'' Striking a concilliatory note, he refused to read motives behind the Australian players views that Harbhajan has been let off lightly ''I don't see any motive (among Australian cricketers) in the issue.
The matter has been resolved. We want to move on,'' he said.
Pawar made it clear that the BCCI will also not tolerate any misbehaviour on the part of Indian players and said that action will be taken against players found using abusive language in future.
''I don't think that it is nice for an Indian player to use abusive language. They are ambassadors of the country. They should behave properly. We have told them the board will take serious view of any behaviour unbecoming of an Indian,'' he said.
''See Dravid, Kumble and Tendulkar, they are respected the world over for their on-field conduct. They should be role models for other cricketers,'' Pawar said.
He said he was fully satisfied the way BCCI acted on this issue and claimed that country supported the stand taken by it.
''We protected the country's prestige, our players' image. It is difficult to accept that an India could be a racist. We were the ones who showed the world how to fight racism and it is unacceptable that an Indian be charged of racism. No Indian can be a racist,'' he asserted.
Pawar said,''We were absolutely confident that Harbhajan did not use any racially abusive language, we were confident to get a favourable verdict from the Appeals Commissioner. I was told by Sachin Tendulkar that Harbhajan had not used any racially abusive language. He had used a Punjabi 'gali' (abuse).'' To a query as why they took so long to say that Harbhajan had used a punjabi 'gali' instead of the word ''monkey'', Pawar said, ''The matter was sub-judice and we did not want to issue any public statement.'' He was of the view that an Appeals Judge could not have asked for new evidence which were not considered earlier.
''Collection of evidence is done by the lower court, that is the normal legal procedure. When a matter goes to superior court, it again considers all the evidence collected by the lower court and takes a decision. The Appeals court can not consider additional evidence,'' he said.
UNI HSB AB HT1654