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January 8, 2008
India have done what many Australians do when they are under extreme stress and headed to the beach to relax. Having spent a large part of the last 48 hours in their rooms, the players left the hotel for a "team bonding session" at Bondi as they wait for news on the state of the tour after the fall-out from the suspension of Harbhajan Singh for a racist slur.
The team is strongly supporting Harbhajan, who was ruled to have called Andrew Symonds a "monkey" at the SCG, and the players want the ban lifted before next week's third Test in Perth. The board has issued a statement saying it did not accept the punishment and will file an appeal to the ICC.
A team spokesman hoped the ban would be overturned. "We're very clear that Harbhajan has not said that," Dr MV Sridhar said. "We feel there's not much evidence to say he said that."
Sridhar expected the board would make a decision on Tuesday on whether the series continued. "There's no thinking as of now of doing anything drastic towards the tour," he said. "We're awaiting instructions from the BCCI and we're hoping they will communicate something to us today and as soon as we receive the instructions we will react accordingly."
The side, which was due to leave on Monday, has stayed in Sydney instead of travelling to Canberra for a tour game. The match is due to start on Thursday, but the players have not shown any signs of departing Sydney since they spent two hours on the team bus on Monday. Officials in Canberra are preparing as if the match will go ahead.
Greg King, the India trainer, is said to have organised the beach session, which was due to involve the team playing volleyball and making a trip to the lifeguard tower. The players, who are tired after the events of the past few days, continue to wait to see where the board will send them next.
The board is also trying to have Steve Bucknor removed from standing in Perth after a series of his decisions cost India dearly. Brad Hogg has also been reported for allegedly using abusive language at Anil Kumble.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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