Match Referee spares Harbhajan, Gambhir for on-field spat

Dambulla: Volatile Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh and his belligerent teammate Gautam Gambhir escaped punishment after ICC Match Referee Andy Pycroft took a light view of their on-field spats with Pakistani players during last night`s Asia Cup tie.

Only in the previous over, having missed the last two balls, Harbhajan and Shoaib were seen exchanging words. After he hit the winning runs, a charged-up Harbhajan took off his helmet and roared in celebration, turning towards Shoaib, who made a gesture, seemingly asking the batsman to leave the field.

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi also played down the incident.

"They are friends with each other and love each other. I think that brought them so close together," Afridi quipped.

Incidentally, both Harbhajan and Shoaib had a friendly chat after the game, suggesting that all was well between them.

Gambhir, chastised by the ICC for bringing the game into disrepute in the recent past, reacted to a barb from Akmal leading to a chest-to-chest confrontation before Dhoni sidled away his most consistent batsman from the hot scene.

Later, Dhoni said such tense match between arch-rivals was bound to let some sparks flying.

"If you ask me if it (sledging) happened or not, I would say let us leave it. India-Pakistan games are always intense with both wanting to win and so there is bound to be some
spark in the middle," Dhoni said.