Australia in India 2008-09 November 4, 2008

Gambhir's appeal against ban rejected

Cricinfo staff

Gautam Gambhir had scored a double-century in Delhi © AFP

The Indian board appears to be heading for a confrontation with the ICC over the one-Test ban on Gautam Gambhir. While the BCCI has rejected the decision of the appeals commissioner, Justice Albie Sachs, to uphold the ban, and issued a strongly worded protest, the ICC has said the "matter is closed".

"The ICC Code of Conduct is a robust and independent process designed to achieve a fair and proper outcome," Haroon Lorgat, the ICC's chief executive, said. "Although we have received an objection letter from the BCCI, there is nothing more that we can do as the appeal commissioner's decision is a final and binding decision."

The BCCI, in a statement, said the order "seems to have been pre-decided" as it had been passed without affording the player an opportunity of personal hearing and legal representation, without acceding to his request for certain documents/recordings to be given to him and also denying him an extension of time.

The selectors have, however, called up Tamil Nadu's M Vijay as a replacement for Gambhir for the fourth Test against Australia, which begins on Thursday. Gambhir has been the leading run-getter in the series so far, with 463 runs in three Tests including a century and a double-century.

In its letter to the ICC, written by board secretary N Srinivasan, the BCCI said the order was void as being in violation of the mandatory provisions of the rules and/or the principles of natural justice. However, the ICC Code of Conduct - for players and officials for matches other than the World Cup, Champions Trophy and Under-19 World Cup - says the "decision of the appeals commissioner shall be final and binding". It gives the commissioner absolute authority in such situations, including the right to decide whether oral representations should be permitted.

"Oral representations (either in person or by telephone conference as determined in the discretion of the appeals commissioner) should be permitted unless there are good reasons for relying on written submissions only", the rules state. "Where it is available, he shall view video tape of the incident which is the subject matter of the appeal."

Top Curve
Why Gambhir lost the appeal
  • Video evidence clearly shows Gambhir deliberately elbowed Shane Watson
  • He pleaded guilty to the charge and appealed only against the penalty
  • He is guilty of a previous offence within the last 12 months
  • Doubtful whether his last-minute request for oral hearing and legal representation would have led to a different verdict
  • Cricketing world is entitled to expect the highest standards from all cricketers
Bottom Curve

Earlier, the ICC rules - which were changed in 2007 - provided for a dispute resolution committee to handle such protests, a provision that BCCI utilised in 2005 when a six-ODI ban on Sourav Ganguly, the then India captain, for slow over-rates during an ODI series against Pakistan was reduced to a four-match penalty. Ironically, in that case, it was Justice Sachs who overturned the adjudicator's decision to uphold the ban by Chris Broad, the then match referee.

Gambhir was banned for one Test by Broad after he pleaded guilty to a charge of not conducting play "within the spirit of the game as well as within the laws of cricket" during the third Test against Australia in Delhi, a Level 2 offence under the ICC Code of Conduct. The incident that led to the ban occurred in the 51st over of India's first innings on the first day, when Gambhir, who had verbal altercations with Shane Watson, appeared to elbow the bowler during a run. He was told of his ban before the third day's play after which he filed an appeal.

When making his decision, Broad took into account Gambhir's previous fine for running into Pakistan's Shahid Afridi during an ODI in Kanpur last year. He had been fined 65% of the match fee after he was found guilty of a Level 2 charge of inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players as well as a Level 1 charge of not conducting himself within the spirit of the game.

Justice Sachs, Cricket South Africa's representative on the ICC Code of Conduct Commission, is a senior judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

Click here to read the full judgment.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • nikhil on November 4, 2008, 18:51 GMT

    There are a number of loopholes in this ICC's hearing - (1) How can an appeal be turned into a verdict without letting the guilty party present any sort of evidence. Let Gambhir present whatever he has, and let Sach make a decision at that point, not before. (2) The match referee has not taken any note of the verbal crap that Katich and Johnson have been dishing out to the Indians batsman...if the Aussies can't get the Indian's out by virtue of their bowling, suddenly, they stoop down to the level of dishing out crap to the provoke them to make a mistake, and if that doesn't work, and the Indian's retaliate, run to the match referee and sit on his lap and complain about the Indian's.

    My personal opinion - ban Gambhir for one test match, but give him the opportunity to present his case. And print it in bold to Aussies - you give us crap once, we will dish it out twice. You respect us once, we will respect you twice. You pick what you want.

  • mike on November 4, 2008, 18:31 GMT

    Gambhir intentionally elbowed Watson! There is no denying it, if one watches the telecast on that day..He deserves the ban and can't play the final test at the expense of procedural delays. The ICC commissioner called it right. Having said that, the Aussies have succeeded in ejecting a rival player from reckoning, who is at his prolific best, out of last test. If one examines the same, the just retired, Indian captain Anil Kumble, made it clear that "swearing and foul-mouthing is not acceptable in this part of the world and is highly offensive to the people of Indian sub-continent". In this light, it is possible that aussies may have deliberately targeted Gambhir and got him outta final test so that they can try and salvage Border-Gavaskar trophy.

  • Vijay on November 4, 2008, 18:31 GMT

    The BCCI protest is pure stalling tactics to let Gambhir play the next Test. They should read judge Sachs' judgment carefully and then read it again - it addresses all their objections. Gambhir was guilty of physical contact and should be punished. The proper response to sledging is either more scathing sledging or a smile (like Tendulkar). Separately, on the opener issue - please don't argue for bringing back Aakash Chopra. He is an exceptionally limited and boring batsman (and even worse as a writer). I don't want to see 90% of the runs scored through third man or fine leg...

  • Jay on November 4, 2008, 18:28 GMT

    Well Gambhir does deserve it - physical abuse is the last straw - India should learn to play the game that Australians and the English play so well. However the BCCI should use its muscle and get this issue resolved once and for all - how? Simply no attempt to ensure that verbal abuse ( and that includes the constant berating and bullying tactics imposed especially by Aussies ) should be treated on the same par as physical abuse. All will then stop. I notice Broad did not think that what Katich was doing mouthing of to Gambhir was worthy of action - quite clearly one saw a game in which a young batsman was putting to the sword Australia's attack - the pack mentality to put a player of his game was quite evident and the reaction from Gambhir was unfortunate - the Australians have managed to secure a win and purposefully ensure a thorn in their side does not play the final crucial test. Pretty low even by Aussie standards. How does that equate to playing with "Spirit".

  • Kamal on November 4, 2008, 18:12 GMT

    Well, to be objective - physical contact cannot be tolerated no matter how much the person was sledged. Indians always seem to be playing into Aussie tactics.

    This move could be considered a master move by Aussie "tacticians" and Indian players who usually act maverick - have fallen for it once again. The timing of Gilchrist's book excerpts is also amazing.

    I think it is about time to engage some of the Aussie players in the same dirty mind games. Doesn't cheery Watson play for Rajashthan Royals? :)

  • srivenu on November 4, 2008, 18:11 GMT

    Well, The issue would have been eased out had Watson also been reasonably punished for provoking Gauti. More over, when why would anyone want to elbow others? Doesn't Gauti know that an action would be taken if he does so. It was pure accidental, on the other hand, Watson's behavior was purely intentional. It was one of the cheap tricks that Aus can play. As always Aus lived upto the expectations. Doesn't the World aware of the Bully Boys of Aus?

  • sai praneeth on November 4, 2008, 18:08 GMT

    I am really disappointed with the judgement...I strongly feel that the people in ICC(whether it is match referee, umpires or the judge) are showing strong racial discrimination...Otherwise they should have charged Watson also with more severe penalty...I am really disaapointed with the code of conduct of the ICC...their laws are not appropriate and there should be some amendments to their laws....The reason i am telling this the person who has provoked is getting escaped easily....I adre say that the above judgement is a reflection of racial discrimination towards the asians being shown by ICC...

  • Kauserali on November 4, 2008, 18:05 GMT

    I think there is a major standards flaw at play here. I agree Gambhir should be punished, and am also okay with him not getting a hearing to delay proceedings since what he did was evident on video (youtube!). But, a bigger question is how the Aussies have again successfully managed to manipulate their key opponent out of the game - And I don't buy the argument that they did not cross the line. If I look at Katich standing over Gambhir, instead of being behind the wicket when Laxman hit the ball to midoff - it is clearly an intentional attempt to "target" and "antagonize" the opposition. Watson feigning throws not at the wickets but at Gambhir. I think that while some player may sledge and have a few words, this behavior on the part of Katich and Watson was much more than sledging - it was intimidation of the first order - and they should each be banned for the next test match also as a result of such antics.

  • Raghuvir on November 4, 2008, 17:54 GMT

    All articles and post-incident comments shout out that Watson provoked Gambhir. If that's the case, Watson should be equally responsible for Gambhir's action. This will certainly send a clear message to those who consider mental disintegration (read 'verbal abuse') as acceptable behavior.

    If the ICC rules warrant a one-match ban on Gambhir, Watson should also receive the same although Gambhir's previous incident against Afridi played a part in him being banned.

    Besides, what sort of a hearing in a democratic world would not allow the accused to be heard?

  • Patrick on November 4, 2008, 17:36 GMT

    Here we go again - an independent process has suspended an Indian player and the BCCI won't accept it. Regardless of the arguments - and it is a pity to see any player banned from a high profile fixture - this is the agreed process and should be adhered to. Any other conclusion now can only mean one thing - that India can dictate terms to the rest of the world with impunity. If that's the case then the ICC should close down and a new body set up to run world cricket based in Delhi. We're already enduring other countries being interfered with over the ICL/IPL/BCCI Civil War as manifested by the exclusion of Shane Bond and others from New Zealand international sides, the sacking of Stuart Law as Lancashire captain, the Mohammed Yousuf controversy and the saga of Sri Lanka sending a 2nd XI to England next year to suit the needs of Indian domestic cricket. Enough is enough - it is time the BCCI exercised its power more responsibly and show some long overdue regard for world cricket.

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