Cricket Australia has upheld the charge that Matthew Hayden breached its code of conduct when he referred to Harbhajan Singh as an "obnoxious weed"on a radio station on Tuesday. No fine was imposed on Hayden but he was issued a reprimand after a hearing on Wednesday by the Code of Conduct commissioner Ron Beazley. Hayden was charged under Rule 9 of CA's Code of Behaviour, which prohibits detrimental public comment.
In a brief statement following the verdict, Hayden said: "I maintain my innocence, my intentions were never to denigrate cricket or anyone. But in the spirit of cricket I respect and accept the decision." Reacting to the judgment, BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah told Cricinfo, "CA has taken a decision and the matter is closed as far as we are concerned."
Earlier CA had assured the Indian board that it would investigate Hayden's remarks. "Mr Sutherland [the Cricket Australia chief executive] wrote to me that he is aware of the comment and is dealing with it," Shah told. Shah has asked the Indian team manager Vimal Soni not to react to Hayden's comments.
Harbhjan was quoted saying he did not want a slanging match over the issue. "Maybe they [Australians] realise they no longer are the undisputed champions of the world. Maybe they feel the crown is slipping. Otherwise, why would a cricket veteran [Hayden] ask a 19-year-old [Ishant Sharma] to join him in a ring? You only need to speak to international cricketers and international teams to know in what opinion they hold Hayden," Harbhajan said.
Hayden and Harbhajan clashed during Sunday's CB Series game between the two sides and the Indian team later complained that Hayden had called Harbhajan a "mad boy". Clarifying what he had said, Hayden told the radio station: "I called him a bad boy."
He also said: "It's been a bit of a long battle with Harbhajan, the first time I ever met him he was the same little obnoxious weed that he is now. His record speaks for itself in cricket."