Finally, the two enfant terribles of Indian cricket came face-to-face. The Sikh from Punjab allegedly slapped the malayali boy. The cameras didn't catch the alleged slap; they could only capture the malayali crying.
Both these players shared a dressing room in the past and will definitely be sharing a dressing room in the future. So, what caused this fracas?
Its time BCCI started being tough. BCCI proved its muscle when it held the Australian Cricket Board to ransom during the Procter-Symonds-Bhajji tamasha. This time also, it has to flex its muscles. If Bhajji did slap Sreesanth, then Bhajii should be banned from the IPL. However, despite the hype, IPL is domestic tournament. BCCI should also ban Bhajji for 3 Tests / 5 ODIs or whatever the maximum punishment is for bringing the game into disrepute. Cricinfo, in one of its column, suggests that Bhajji cannot be punished twice (by the IPL and BCCI) for the same crime. However, in the interests of the game, Harbhajan should get the max punishment. Ban him for 10 games in the IPL (effectively ruling him out for the remainder of the tournament) as well as a ban by BCCI for international matches as per the ICC rulebook. Moreover, the franchise owner should not only not pay Harbhajan any amount of the $ 800,000 that was bid; but Harbhajan should be asked to pay a penalty for getting out the tournament in this manner, when his team needed him the most.
However, Harbhajan wouldn't have done whatever he is alleged to do without provocation. Sreesanth should also be taken to task for needlessly abusing and giving an earful to the batsmen. Sreesanth should be reprimanded / fined and given a 3 match IPL suspension and a 1 Test / 3 ODI suspension for his behaviour. We desperately need to ask Sreesanth to concentrate on bowling to the exclusion of everything else. If BCCI doesn't act now, it will be sending a wrong message to the rest of the team and to the millions of children who are keen to emulate these stars. Its these future generation of cricketers who needed to be given a clear message.
In the interests of the game, both these players need to be given the strictest punishment possible.