Dhoni leaves door ajar for Gambhir

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Nagpur, Nov.5 : New Indian cricket captain Mahendra Dhoni continues to maintain that there is a possibility for opener Gautam Gambhir to still play in the final Test against Australia here, in spite of his appeal against a one match ban being rejected.

Dhoni said he was "almost sure" that Gambhir would be replaced by debutant Murali Vijay, but left the tiniest bit of room for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to take the law into their own hands following the overnight assertion that they would not recognise the verdict of the ICC appeals commissioner, South African justice Albie Sachs.

"You can have a last minute change of plan but as of now I think M Vijay will open," Dhoni said.

"(Losing Gambhir) is crucial because he's been the man in form. He has scored loads of runs. A good start really matters, after that you can really capitalize on that and the middle order comes into action and that really helps to get a big score on the board."

The ICC declared the Gambhir case closed despite Indian objections.

Chief executive Haroon Lorgat indicated they had no further avenues, a clear indication that Gambhir would not be allowed to play in Nagpur.

"The ICC code of conduct is a robust and independent process designed to achieve a fair and proper outcome," Lorgat said in a statement.

"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 matter is now closed and the ICC will make no further comment on the case."

Sachs upheld match referee Chris Broad's decision to suspend Gambhir for elbowing Shane Watson on day one of the third Test in New Delhi.

"I am prepared to accept that he (Gambhir) had been the victim of prolonged and persistent verbal abuse by members of the Australian team, culminating in a moment of anger that led to his unfortunate lapse," Sachs said.

"(But) cricket is not a contact sport. Small collisions can lead to big ones ... Deliberate collision can never be condoned, however grave the provocation."

Watson was fined 10 per cent of his match fee on Thursday for verbally engaging with Gambhir.

On receiving notification that Gambhir's one-match ban would stand, the BCCI released a statement protesting the verdict.

"The said order has been passed without affording the player an opportunity of personal hearing, legal representation and without acceding to his request for certain documents/recordings to be given to him and also denying him an extension of time," BCCI honorary secretary N Srinivasan said in the statement.

"On receipt of the order, the Board has refused to accept the decision ... and has sent its objection to the ICC.

"I submit that the decision/order of the ... appeals commissioner is void ... and also as being in violation of principles of natural justice," Srinivasan wrote.

An identical situation arose in 2001 when the banned Virender Sehwag was chosen to play against South Africa at Centurion Park despite a suspension for over-appealing.

On that occasion match referee Mike Denness, who imposed the ban, was locked out of the ground and the match declared unofficial by the ICC.

ANI

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