Dhoni, Harbhajan bat for Suresh Raina

Last Updated: Oct 25, 2010, 21:52 PM IST

New Delhi: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Monday firmly backed teammate Suresh Raina terming the reports of the young middle-order batsman being linked with an associate of a bookie as “baseless.”

“I think it is baseless,” was Dhoni’s curt reply to reporters when they sought his reaction on the story published by a British daily which said that Raina was seen in Sri Lanka with a woman, who is a close associate of a known bookmaker.

When prodded further, the skipper said, “Whether it’s the Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC), the BCCI, ACSU or the ICC, each and everyone has already given their reaction in this regard.”

Another of Raina’s senior teammate Harbhajan Singh also came out strongly in support of Raina saying that one should think 100 times before writing such things.

‘I don’t know what to say. It’s all rubbish. What is coming out in the papers is baseless. It is shameful that such things are being written,’ Harbhajan said at a media meet here.

The report in the Sunday Times said the Sri Lankans had submitted a report to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) stating that during India’s tour to the island nation earlier this year Raina accompanied the woman who was known to be an associate of a man linked to a bookmaker.

The Sri Lankan board (Sri Lanka Cricket) has already denied having sent any such report to the BCCI which also said Sunday that the media write-up was ‘baseless’ and ‘false’.

‘It’s good that the BCCI has already made things clear,’ Harbhajan said.

‘We always give our best while playing for our country. One should think 100 times before levelling such allegations,’ he added.

Yesterday, it was reported that Raina was seen with the the lady at a Sri Lankan Hotel and the footages were recorded on the CCTV of the hotel.

According to that newspaper, the SLC rather than contacting the ICC’s ACSU went to BCCI. The BCCI secretary N Srinivasan, for whose franchisee Chennai Super Kings Raina plays in the IPL, instructed the SLC not to proceed further.

PTI