Kumble's fears realised
India captain Anil Kumble says he asked Ricky Ponting not to make a formal complaint against Harbhajan Singh.
Last Updated: 09/01/08 9:27pm
India captain Anil Kumble has said that he asked Australian counterpart Ricky Ponting not to make a formal complaint against Harbhajan Singh over the racist comment he allegedly made to Andrew Symonds.
Kumble said that he had approached Ponting following the incident during last week's second Test in Sydney and, fearing the situation might spiral out of control, he suggested the matter might be resolved between the two teams.
However, Ponting responded by apparently telling the Indian skipper that he had already reported it to the umpires.
Speaking to reporters in Canberra on Wednesday, Kumble said: "When that incident happened I did make a request to Ricky Ponting that it should be handled, if it can be sorted out, whatever.
"His response was that it had already been reported.
"Having played cricket for this long, (I knew) such an allegation would definitely spiral into what it has now. I anticipated that it would spiral into a larger issue."
After there were problems with the crowd on Australia's tour of India last year, Ponting said he had been placed under instructions from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to report any such incidents.
Harbhajan was handed a three-match ban by ICC match referee Mike Procter after he allegedly called Symonds a 'monkey'.
The Indian spinner has denied the charge and lodged an appeal but the incident caused the country's cricket board to suspend the tour.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) then agreed that the tour should continue, but only after the ICC made a number of concessions, including the standing down of umpire Steve Bucknor and allowing Harbhajan to play until his appeal is heard.
Kumble also used the opportunity to jump to the defence of Harbhajan, saying: "There is an appeal that has been made so we are hopeful we get the right decision.
"From what I gather from my two teammates from the Indian side who were on the field, that remark was never made.
"People believe that a word was said, which was not said.
"The entire team is together on this and has really backed him. I am really proud of that fact and I'd like to thank the BCCI for fully backing us."
The ICC is yet to set a date for Harbhajan's appeal but it has appointed New Zealand High Court judge John Hansen to hear the case.