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Thursday, November 6, 2008

ICC, BCCI clash over Gambhir

MUMBAI: The one-Test ban on Indian opener Gautam Gambhir is fast turning into another showdown between the International Cricket
Council and the
Board of Control for Cricket in India.

On Tuesday, the ICC-appointed Appeals Commissioner, Justice Albie Sachs, upheld the ban on the batsman, triggering an instant reaction from BCCI which protested against the undue haste and unfair manner in which the decision was taken.

Justice Sachs' ruling — which means Gambhir may have to sit out the Nagpur Test beginning on Thursday — was arrived at without giving the batsman a hearing.

Gambhir had earlier pleaded guilty to the level 2 charge of not conducting himself "in the spirit of the game" during the Delhi Test match and ICC rules permit the appeals commissioner to decide the matter without conducting hearings.

But the swiftness with which the decision was taken has miffed BCCI. After shooting off a letter to ICC protesting the decision, the Indian board said in a statement, "The order has been passed without affording the player an opportunity of personal hearing, legal representation and without acceding to his request for certain documents or recordings to be given to him and also denying him any extension of time."

The ball is now in ICC's court. If it doesn't reply to BCCI's letter of objection within 48 hours, the Indian board, under the ICC rules, can go ahead and name Gambhir for the Nagpur Test.

If the ICC takes cognisance of the letter then it would mean another bout of legal proceedings making Gambhir's presence in the Nagpur Test a certainty.

That the BCCI is headed by a legal eagle, Shashank Manohar,was evident in the manner it went about naming Gambhir's replacement - the prolific Tamil Nadu opener M Vijay - for the fourth Test. "We have decided to keep him so that tomorrow the ICC should not tell us we didn't do our part of the job. But we have refused to accept the decision on Gambhir. By Wednesday, we should have a clear picture," BCCI secretary N Srinivasan told TOI.

Gambhir's run-in with Australian all-rounder Shane Watson on the opening day of the Kotla Test last Wednesday had resulted in a one-Test suspended sentence.

The sentence was announced by the match referee Chris Broad on Friday, the third day of the Test. BCCI swung into action immediately and went in for an appeal the same day.

It gave an allowance of seven days for ICC to take further action. BCCI, which though it had managed to ensure Gambhir's presence in the crucial match of the Test series against Australia, were stumped when ICC hastened the proceedings. With 463 runs in three Tests, the Delhi opener is the highest scorer in the series so far.

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