India v Australia 2008-09 / News

Australia in India 2008-09

Gambhir's appeal against ban rejected

Cricinfo staff

November 4, 2008

Comments: 33 | Text size: A | A


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

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by nikhil_13 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 batsman...to 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.

Posted by syphilis 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.

Posted by VijaySh 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...

Posted by MrUmp 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".

Posted by Sampdoria 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? :)

Posted by 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?

Posted by spreddy1 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...

Posted by KK_at_K 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.

Posted by 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?

Posted by Patrick_Clarke 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.

Posted by gulliver on (November 4, 2008, 17:36 GMT)

I think that Gambhir got what was coming to him (and I am an Indian fan). He has to learn to refine his sledging. The opposition got him where they wanted him, and he wasn't smart enough to realize it. Hopefully he will learn next time. The BCCI is wasting time saying they object to the verdict. They should announce a backup player and announce they have full faith in him. Hopefully even the backup player can dish it out to the Aussies (and I mean by his game).

Posted by Ed_Lamb on (November 4, 2008, 17:21 GMT)

How do the BCCI think they can "reject the decision"? - it's not up to them! They can either be part of the wider cricketing community or not.

It's always difficult to take an impartial viewpoint when the team you support is playing, but that is what the Indian general public need to do. Their media will try to stir them up off the back of their board's rediculous rejection, but from the comments here it's clear that at least some of the Indian public realise that as a 2nd time offender, Gambhir had to be banned from the 4th Test. The BCCI are not helping things though - they need to realise they are a leader of world cricket and act appropriately rather than like a spoilt teenager.

Posted by Champ2000 on (November 4, 2008, 17:13 GMT)

I see many of you saying Gambhir should have been given a chance to present case, what i think is there is no case its just time buying thing to play 4th test pending appeal(unsuccessful misuse of process). Now Gambhir has done mistake by using elbow which is very clear and I guess is farely punished for that. Watson , katich and johnson in second inning sledged within so called icc laws (successfully misused).

Indian cricket have improved in every aspect batting, bowling fielding and also they have at least started showing muscle instead of being cow. Next thing they need to learn is answering those sledges nicely. like one McGrath got or that biscuit comment may be.. those will get australians back...honestly aus team gets nasty when they don't get wickets...

Posted by TheBigTicket on (November 4, 2008, 17:12 GMT)

What a shame? The Australians always seem to find a way to win by stooping to the lowest level - wrong is done only when there is a threat of loosing. Mr. Broad and on onfield officials should not be guided to act selectively but rather should obey the law at all times. Mr. Ponting is a great player, however, his sportsmanship and respect for the game is questionable and thus has earned the disrespect of many.

Paul - Canada

Posted by Sri999 on (November 4, 2008, 17:09 GMT)

Hearings are needed when there is an element of doubt. In this case, once you see the video, there is no doubt about whose fault it was. Gambhir clearly violated the spirit of the game and is actually lucky that assault charges haven't been brought against him.

Posted by Sri999 on (November 4, 2008, 17:07 GMT)

I am an Indian supporter but I see no reason to defend Gambhir after what he did. He did something that needs to be punished by banning him for more than one game. He should be banned from playing for at least 3 or 4 matches. One match is not enough when you brazenly try to hurt another player like that. I feel ashamed that he plays for India.

Posted by Ramani_indian on (November 4, 2008, 17:00 GMT)

Move on BCCI... Its very evident that Ghambir elbowed Watson deliberately... Not accepting the decision will make us look like child with an attitude problem... Try to accept the fact ask your players to control their aggression and try to win the next game...

Posted by TwitterJitter on (November 4, 2008, 16:57 GMT)

This is a big blow for India. Gambhir/Sehwag combo is very critical for Indians to succeed against Australia. It is interesting how "serial offenders" (as the Aussie media would call any Indian they are targeting) Katich and Johnson got away from the referee inspite of all their shennanigans. Anways, hopefully this would open up an opportunity for someother youngster to prove himself.

Posted by jayrkay on (November 4, 2008, 16:53 GMT)

when Gautam Gambir accepted the responsibility for his actions, he did not mean that he maliciously elbowed Shane Watson. Also, this incident should be treated disregarding a previous sanction. Opportunity was not given to Gambhir what exactly happened- act was done maliciously and if so produced any bodily harm to Watson. I do not condone this action, it is unsportsmenly- Australians are great in provoking the opposite team members- I have seen every action possible- verbal, spitting on the ground and kicking sideways with leg etc

Posted by criticizeurselfb4ucriticizeothers on (November 4, 2008, 16:52 GMT)

So much for ICC's independent and fair process. How many times has an Australian/English player been banned? Mr. Ponting always justifies verbal filthiness from Australian players by saying, "no malice was intended", and gets away with that. Gambhir said the same, but nobody was listening. Shouldn't we have the same yardstick for the instigators? Why was Shane Watson spared with just a 10%match fee fine?

Are non-Asian players evaluated using SAME fair rules? The answer has been starkly obvious but unfortunately "fairness" is onlya tool used to give an advantage to non-Asian teams. As is evident - when the Australian bowling attack was toothless in face of Gambhir onslaught, the only option was to somehow not allowing him on the playing field. I have continued to have faith in the power of the fairer media towards ensuring that we have a truly independent process for monitoring player conduct - hope we do have one during our lifetimes. But till then, we have to live with the injustice?

Posted by JT on (November 4, 2008, 16:39 GMT)

Sachs himself through his statements has exposed the biggest problem with ICC rules. Verbal abuse is ok, no matter how excessive it gets, but if a person retaliates after being such abuse it is not at all ok. What a farce! It is high time such rules are changed. I am surprised no one in cricketing community is thinking about this double standard

Posted by Cricket_Fan_007 on (November 4, 2008, 16:39 GMT)

Yes, of course - why not. The guilty should be punished. And rightly so. But the when everything else fails, Aussie stoop to the lowest. Even if that involves preventing opponents from playing.

Posted by jaideepdesai on (November 4, 2008, 16:38 GMT)

It is annoying to know that Aussie teams get away with a lot of bullying on the field while the Indians seem to be targeted for punishment. Clearly either the ICC is biased given the clout of the BCCI or the Indians are just being foolish and doing the damage onto themselves. I somehow think the latter is not the case and the BCCI should avoid having any tests with Austrailia till this matter gets sorted out. There is a rationale to my suggestion because the Aussie's will be at huge financial loss if they don't play with India. That is perhaps the only way that they will learn. Hurt their pocket book. In the past the abnoxious behaviour of the Aussie teams has been credited with positive reinforcement in that they are deemed as assertive and aggresive, but when the Indians display the same it seems taken out of context as being boorish. Clearly this needs to be sorted out.

Posted by bonaku on (November 4, 2008, 16:36 GMT)

It is time to carry on. Instead of complaining about these things, they need to know how to sledge like sarwan(did to McGrath). It is also quite obvious that gambhir did it intentionally, but what is strange is that Michel Johnson, Simon katich is let off the hook and Shane Watson was fined just 10%, which is ridicules. Even in the case of ganguly, ban for 6 odi's for slow over rate is ridicules. May be it is better to concentrate the way Chris Board is working.

Posted by desaihardik on (November 4, 2008, 16:15 GMT)

This is good stuff by ICC. The only reason Gambhir appealed was to buy some time and eventually be able to play. By giving his verdict so early, Justice Sachs and ICC have given a strong signal that there is a set process and attempt to misuse it won't be tolerated.

I support team India, but if Gambhir can't control his emotions and indulge in such practive of going physical - even thought he was provoked - he should NOT be playing last test. This means, India could lose the Border Gavaskar trophy.

Posted by CRam on (November 4, 2008, 16:13 GMT)

The BCCI will try and muscle its way again - it is time it learnt to play a responsible role in the administration of cricket, and refrains from protecting habitual offenders like Gambhir. Even the process of lodging an appeal after having pleaded guilty, smacks of a smart procedural move to ensure Gambhir plays the last Test - a move the commissioner has been too smart to be taken in by.

And let the BCCI also learn to talk through the performance of its team - let India beat Australia with or without Gambhir, and prove that no man is above the ethics of the game, and that a team is above the politics of a single player.

Posted by luke-redoaks on (November 4, 2008, 16:06 GMT)

After watching the incident - Gambhir, whether provoked or not elbowed Watson deliberately and should face a penalty. India are stalling, wanting him to play the final test and help secure the series, in which a draw would suffice. If India had already won the series, I don't think an appeal would have even been lodged... any thoughts?

Posted by DeepakShah on (November 4, 2008, 16:02 GMT)

While Vijay has shown admirable form this past few weeks, wouldn't the obvious choice have been Cricinfo blogger Akash Chopra? What more has he got to do to get selected?

Posted by corpusninja on (November 4, 2008, 15:59 GMT)

Typical. What's the point of an appeal if its not heard? Also, the fact that Watson starts a confrontation and that the evidence doesn't really show it was an intentional jab undermines the punishment given out. 10% of Watson's match fee for starting the whole thing and a match ban for what could just as easily have been accidental contact.

Posted by Davesh_cricket_analyst on (November 4, 2008, 15:49 GMT)

I think BCCI should take a very strong stand for Gambhir. I am not a lawyer but my basic intellect suggests me that the hearing should have allowed Gambhir to present his case. If Gambhir has not been provided the basic legal right then BCCI should outright reject the decision of ICC. The more you see such incidents more you are convinced that racism does exist in the ICC set up far more than what meets the eye. When Dwayne bravo complained that Graeme Smith passed racial taunts on him during a test match, the match referee rejected the case on the basis of lack of evidence. When Harbhajan called Symonds a monkey (of course he did) then word of Symonds was good enough for ICC to ban Harbhajan.

Posted by CricBay on (November 4, 2008, 15:36 GMT)

"BCCI has refused to accept the decision" ... any surprises ??? And would anybody be surprised if the ban is lifted and Gauti is allowed to play the next test? International Cricket is going to dogs now because of the BCCI (was that Bullys' CriCket Internationale?)

With this kind of an attitude, by and towards BCCI, cricket is losing a lot of loyal followers. God bless Circket !!!

Posted by Reg_Dyer on (November 4, 2008, 15:35 GMT)

Maybe the Indians should threaten to pack their bags and go to Australia? They can't threaten to go home this time as they're already there!

Posted by Felixrsv on (November 4, 2008, 15:12 GMT)

Why would a judge pass a judgement without a hearing? :(

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