The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may be on a sticky wicket here but it's taking on the International Cricket Council (ICC) once again. The latest provocation is the one-Test ban on Gautam Gambhir which was upheld by ICC Appeals Commissioner Albie Sachs on Tuesday, ruling the opener out of the fourth Test against Australia starting on Thursday.
While sending an SoS to Tamil Nadu opener M. Vijay and plucking him out of a Ranji Trophy game in Nashik, the BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan told the ICC that the decision was in "violation of the principles of natural justice" and that it "does not accept the decision and objects to it." Gambhir was handed the ban by match referee Chris Broad for elbowing Shane Watson while taking a run in the third Test in New Delhi.
Going by what an ICC official said and the rules, there is no provision of contesting an Appeals Commissioner's verdict. "The decision of the Appeals Commissioner shall be final and binding," says the section of the ICC's official website that deals with the Code of Conduct. So how exactly the BCCI is going to challenge this is not clear, especially since it has already called up Vijay.
"I have watched the DVD recording of the incident. There can be no doubt that while running back Gautam Gambhir deliberately kept his left arm (carrying the bat) extended so that his elbow would make some contact with the midriff of Shane Watson. Though the resultant collision was not by any means violent, it was manifestly deliberate, and as such inappropriate," Sachs said in his report.
Gambhir had pleaded guilty of committing a Level 2 offence which calls for a ban of one Test or two ODIs, or a deduction of 50 to 100 per cent of his match fee. Sachs added in his report that a ban was handed to the player because he had committed a similar offence and fined last year, in an ODI against Pakistan.
"In finding him guilty, Chris Broad stated that a player cannot take the law into his own hands under any circumstances or provocation. ...A fine didn't work last time, hopefully a ban will make him realise he cannot strike another player, EVER," said Sachs in his report.
Interestingly, ICC officials pointed out that the Code of Conduct was amended last year where it was decided that the Appeals Commissioner's verdict shall be "final and binding". They said that top officials of all Test playing nations were present at that meeting and agreed to the decisions taken. "There is no provision for any further appeal, especially since the player pleaded guilty to the charge."
Given the clout the BCCI has in international cricket and given its history of winning such battles against the ICC, it would be interesting to see what method it devises now.