IPL 2013 news April 12, 2013

Sreesanth alleges cover-up of 2008 slap

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sreesanth, the India and Rajasthan Royals bowler, has alleged the IPL withheld the "real video" of the incident between Harbhajan Singh and him in IPL 2008. In a series of tweets from his personal Twitter handle Sreesanth said Harbhajan had not slapped him but was a "backstabbing person", and he received "no support whatsoever" from "selfish" people involved in the issue even though they knew "it was not my fault".

"I want the world to c it..Whn I went to shake hands afte the match..he had lost it..he had already planned to hit me(elbow me)all his anger," Sreesanth tweeted. This tweet, along with several others, has since been deleted.

Harbhajan refused to comment on the issue when he was approached in Mumbai by the media.

He was scared to speak out earlier, Sreesanth said, but now wants the "world to know what happened". The truth would be revealed by the video he said, which was kept "in hiding" by the IPL. He said Sudhir Nanavati, the BCCI-appointed commissioner who investigated the incident, knew the truth. He also said the "incident was planned by a few".

However, Sreesanth did not reveal his version of events. Footage of the actual incident has never been shown to the public.

Meanwhile, Nanavati contradicted Sreesanth's claims that he was elbowed saying that Harbhajan did slap him. "In the video footage, I have seen Harbhajan use the backside of his right palm to give him (Sreesanth) a slap on the right side of his face," Nanavati told PTI. "It was clear cut, it was there to be seen in the video footage.

"What I have seen in the frame of the video was that Harbhajan, after giving him a slap, was coming back once again to hit him but at that time, two security personnel had stopped him."

The 2008 incident involved Mumbai Indians' Harbhajan Singh hitting Sreesanth, his India team-mate who was then playing for Kings XI Punjab, during the routine round of handshakes after the game between the two teams in Mohali. The incident itself was not shown on camera but Sreesanth was spotted in tears after that. Harbhajan was banned for the rest of the tournament, while Sreesanth was let off with a warning. After the hearing by match referee Farokh Engineer, the then IPL chairman Lalit Modi said Engineer had found Harbhajan's attack to have been "totally unprovoked".

The outburst was prompted by a report in Friday's Times of India that said the Virat Kohli-Gautam Gambhir spat during the IPL game in Bangalore on Thursday was similar to "slapgate". As Kohli was heading back to the pavilion after being dismissed, Gambhir ran past him on his way to celebrating with his team-mates. They appeared to exchange words and then charged at each other before the other players and one of the umpires separated them.

Harbhajan and Sreesanth are due to meet on April 17 in Jaipur, when Royals play Mumbai Indians.

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