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A balancing act by Speed

Calcutta: The ICC has asked the BCCI to complete the tour of Australia irrespective of the verdict of Harbhajan Singh’s appeal against the three-Test ban.

Chief executive Malcolm Speed insisted that the ICC will not be held to ransom over the off-spinner’s appeal against the ban for alleged racial abuse and said India would have to abide by any ruling.

Neither BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah nor chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty was available for comment.

Recently Speed had to fend off criticism that by sacking Steve Bucknor for the Perth Test and allowing Harbhajan to play while his appeal was pending, the ICC had caved in to BCCI demands.

The BCCI has also said India’s continued participation in the series will be “under constant review”.

“I am very pleased the tour is going ahead, there is a process in place for appeals and Harbhajan Singh has appealed,” Speed told an Australian newspaper. According to him, the logistical issues of gathering all the required players to give evidence is the only matter of concern.

Team India manager Chetan Chauhan, meanwhile, has accused Andrew Symonds of breaking a pact made in Mumbai with Harbhajan that the pair would not indulge in sledging.

“In Mumbai they had a friendly pact, an oral pact… I would say the first person to have broken that pact was the person who has complained.”

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