Melbourne: Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, again in a racial row, has drawn support from unusual quarters as legendary Australian captain Allan Border praised the bowler for his behaviour after he was baited by the SCG crowd.
"I was over that side of the ground and Harbhajan was copping a fair bit of stick from the crowd," Border said. "I didn't notice any gestures at all and I thought he handled himself pretty well. It's not a big deal," he was quoted as saying by the Herald Sun.
Local media reported on Sunday that Harbhajan apparently motioned as if to scratch his armpits with both hands in the same manner fans did to taunt Andrew Symonds in the one-day series in India last year. Reports said he also spat towards the crowd after being abused by spectators.
Harbhajan and Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds were incolved in a racism controversy during the Sydney Test while the Indian was also last week described as 'obnoxious little weed' by opener Matthew Hayden in a radio interview.
Border lamented that a great effort by Sachin Tendulkar on his possible farewell tour of Australia was being overshadowed by "a few bits of silliness in the outfield".
Australian middle-order batsman Mike Hussey also denied any knowledge about the alleged incidents. "I haven't heard a single thing about it. I'm not so sure how serious it is." he said in Sydney.
Hussey also said he believed too much was being made of things away from the game itself. "I think the Australian and Indian public have had enough of all the controversy," he said.
"We just want to concentrate on the cricket."