India tour of Australia 2007-08 January 9, 2008

New Zealand judge to chair Harbhajan appeal

New Zealand judge John Hansen will hear Harbhajan Singh's appeal over his three-Test ban © Getty Images
New Zealand judge John Hansen has been appointed commissioner for Harbhajan Singh's appeal against the finding that he was guilty of making racist comments during the second Test against Australia in Sydney.

Justice Hansen is a High Court Judge and New Zealand Cricket's appointee on the ICC's Code of Conduct Commission.

Harbhajan was given a three-Test ban after match referee Mike Procter upheld a complaint from Ricky Ponting that he insulted allrounder Andrew Symonds by calling him a "monkey". The finding and sanction enraged the Indians, who were already upset by several umpiring decisions that went against them in the Test.

The ICC said it had received official notification of the appeal from the Indian board on Monday and appointed Justice Hansen in line with ICC Code of Conduct processes. No time, date or venue for the appeal have yet been fixed, but an ICC release said the process "indicates that the appeal should be heard within seven days of the commissioner being appointed." This time period, it added, may be extended depending on circumstances.

In the meantime, Harbhajan may continue to play pending the verdict of the appeal being given. The BCCI announced late Tuesday that the tour in Australia would go ahead.