The charge of racist abuse against Harbhajan Singh has been lifted. The Indian off spinner has been, instead, charged with abuse, which is only a level-2 charge. This invites a fine rather than a level-3 charge.
Harbhajan Singh was duly fined 50 per cent of his match fees for the Sydney Test by New Zealand judge John Hansen, the ICC-appointed commissioner who was hearing the appeal against Mike Procter’s earlier verdict.
It appears that Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting had written a joint letter to John Hansen asking that the charges against Harbhajan Singh be reduced to a lesser level charge.
This was a workable solution struck between Craigh O’Connor, Cricket Australia Chairman, BCCI officialdoms’ I. S. Bhindra and the two teams! Australia had wanted that Harbhajan Singh not be totally let off. India would not accept a racism charge against its player. Sachin Tendulkar continued to maintain that his co-batsman at the time had not said anything racist to Andrew Symonds. Cricket Australia wanted the tour to continue. BCCI wanted the tour to continue. The players wanted to play cricket. The ICC wanted an end to the controversy.
Now everyone is happy. The credits can roll…