New Delhi: Sachin Tendulkar has denied sending an SMS to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Sharad Pawar requesting that the tour of Australia be suspended until the ICC lifts the ban on Harbhajan Singh.

“Sachin Tendulkar has not sent any SMS to Pawar on this issue. He had called up to clarify this point,” the BCCI Vice-President Rajiv Shukla said.

Media reports on Monday said that upset over the ban imposed on Harbhajan for allegedly racially abusing Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds, Tendulkar sent an SMS to Pawar assuring him that the off-spinner was innocent and suggesting that India should play the third Test only if the punishment is revoked.

“Harbhajan is innocent and I can assure you on this. In this hour of crisis, the Board should stand by him. I suggest we should play in Perth only if the ban is lifted,” Tendulkar reportedly told Pawar through the text message.

Tendulkar was among the five Indians, who attended the ICC match referee, Mike Procter’s, hearing into the allegation of racial abuse made by Symonds. — PTI

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