India give green light for Twenty20 clash
Harbhajan Singh has been cleared to play in the forthcoming triangular one-day series between Australia, Sri Lanka and India, after a charge of making racial comments was overturned at an ICC code of conduct appeal hearing.
Harbhajan's initial penalty of a three-Test ban has been quashed, with the off-spinner fined 50% of his match fee from the second Test in Sydney after pleading guilty to using abusive language towards Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds.
New Zealand High Court Judge John Hansen ruled there was not sufficient evidence to prove an offence under rule 3.3 of the code of conduct, which relates to racially insulting behaviour.
The maximum penalty for a level two offence - which covers abusive language - is a one Test match ban or a suspension of two one-day internationals but the India bowler's punishment is at the lowest end of the scale.
Audio and video evidence was presented at the trial, while a full explanation of Justice Hansen's decision will be made on Wednesday.
The Commonwealth Bank triangular series will also go ahead, with the Board of Control for Cricket and India pleased with the outcome of the hearing.
Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young is keen for both sides to put the unsavoury incident behind them and concentrate on the triangular series involving the two teams and Sri Lanka looming on the horizon.
"All parties will move on with the cricket," Young said. "The game is the important thing."
The ICC revealed that prior to the hearing a letter signed by all the players involved - from both Australia and India - was tendered into evidence as an agreed statement of facts as to what took place during the Sydney Test match.
Both teams will now move to Melbourne for a Twenty20 international on Friday which is expected to be played out in front of 90,000 fans at the MCG.
The Commonwealth Bank Series, a one-day international tournament which also involves Sri Lanka, gets under way on Sunday with India and Australia clashing at the Gabba.