Harbhajan's pictures removed from advertisements

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Mumbai, May 2 (UNI) Harbhajan Singh, banned from the remaining matches of the DLF Indian Premier League following the slapgate controversy, now finds his pictures being removed from all advertisements promoting the Mumbai Indians, including its website.

Reliance Industries, the owners of the franchise, thought this was a sensible move, taking into account public sentiments.

Harbhajan was found guilty of slapping Sreesanth in a league game against Punjab last week and was banned for rest of the IPL matches subsequently.

The team management, is silent on the matter. ''It is a corporate decision. In any case it doesn't make sense to have the picture once who is not playing,'' a top official in the Mumbai team said.

But the franchise is terming the move ''temporary'', and hopes that if Mumbai's fortunes soar and they make it to the IPL final then Harbhajan will be back on the advertisements. '' Fearing the move might be termed as controversial, the team's brand managers are now planning to introduce new faces as part of their campaign as that would help newcomers gain public recognition.

''The current hoardings featuring Harbhajan Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya and Shaun Pollock were put up in the run-up to IPL, because they were the big crowd-pullers,'' an official said. ''But a decision had also been taken that as the IPL progressed, we would give exposure to the younger lot by turning them into recognisable forces through the hoardings.'' UNI GS OBB RKM KP1841

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