ICC appoints Hansen to hear Harbhajan appeal

MUMBAI, India Wed Jan 9, 2008 2:52pm IST

India's cricketer Harbhajan Singh plays a game of volley ball on Sydney's Bondi Beach January 8, 2008.  REUTERS/Patrick Riviere

India's cricketer Harbhajan Singh plays a game of volley ball on Sydney's Bondi Beach January 8, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Patrick Riviere

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MUMBAI, India (Reuters) - New Zealand High Court judge John Hansen has been appointed as commissioner to hear India spinner Harbhajan Singh's code of conduct appeal, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Wednesday.

Off-spinner Harbhajan was handed a three-test ban for allegedly racially abusing Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds during the second test in Sydney that ended in an acrimonious defeat for the touring Indians.

The Indian board appealed against match referee Mike Procter's decision after Harbhajan pleaded not guilty to the charge and initially suspended their tour of Australia.

Harbhajan has been allowed to continue playing pending the verdict of the appeal.

"No time, date or venue for the appeal have yet been fixed," the ICC said in a statement.

"The process indicates that the appeal should be heard within seven days of the commissioner being appointed. However, this time period may be extended if circumstances dictate."

The Indian board announced after an emergency meeting on Tuesday they will resume the tour but would continue to protest against the charge against Harbhajan.

Their decision came after the ICC sacked umpire Steve Bucknor from next week's third test follow widespread criticism of his performance in Sydney.

"Under the provisions of the ICC code of conduct, Justice Hansen has the power to increase, decrease, amend or otherwise substitute his own decision from that made at the previous hearing, and his decision is final and binding," the ICC said in a statement said.

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