Gambhir to appeal against ban

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New Delhi, Oct 31 (UNI) Gautam Gambhir was today banned for one Test match after being found guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct during the third Test against Australia here, but the BCCI said the opener has decided to contest the ban.

''For Level 2 offences, the concerned players have the right to appeal against the adjudicator's decision within 24 hours of notification of the decision. Accordingly, Gambhir will be lodging an appeal,'' BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said.

If the ban stays Gambhir will miss the fourth and last Test in Nagpur starting from November 6.

Gambhir met ICC Match Referee Chris Broad this morning before the start of third day's play where he was informed of the penalty. The hearing had been adjourned yesterday to allow the match referee to review the evidence.

The player had pleaded guilty to a charge under Rule C1 of the Code (Level 2) which states that players shall at all times conduct play within the spirit of the game.

The penalty for a Level 2 offence is a fine of between 50 and 100 per cent of the player's match fee or a maximum ban of one Test match or two ODIs.

The incident that led to the charge being laid took place during the 51st over of India's first innings on day one of the Test match when there was a coming-together of Gambhir and Shane Watson.

Watson was found guilty and fined 10 per cent of his match fee yesterday for verbally engaging with Gambhir in a manner that was not in keeping with the Spirit of Cricket.

Explaining the decision, Broad said, ''The decision to fine Gambhir guilty of a level 2 offence is indicative of the fact that any degree of physical contact is unacceptable.'' ''Had Gambhir been charged with and found guilty of a charge under 2.4, due to his previous offence, I would have been obliged to impose a minimum penalty of a two-Test match ban. In the view of the umpires, the facts of this case - the lightness of the physical conduct and the element of provocation - would not justify such a penalty.

''The umpires accordingly had regard to the notes of the ICC Code of Conduct which provides for a player to be charged under Rule C1 if the circumstances of the alleged incident are not adequately covered by the listed offences.

''Whilst I concur with this view, the ICC has repeatedly told the players that deliberate physical contact between players will not be tolerated. I have also taken into account the previous offences of Gambhir and therefore, I am satisfied that the penalty imposed is an appropriate outcome in the circumstances of this matter. I hope Gambhir will learn from this,'' he added.

Present at the hearing was the player, the match referee, the on-field umpires Billy Bowden and Aleem Dar, third umpire Suresh Shastri and fourth umpire Sameer Bandekar, India coach Gary Kirsten and captain Anil Kumble.

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