The one-Test ban imposed on Gautam Gambhir on Friday evoked a mixed reaction from former cricketers with some of them describing the punishment as ‘harsh’ while others justifying it, saying offences related to physical contact need to be dealt with strictly.
While Mohinder Amarnath felt the ban was harsh, others like Ravi Shastri, Ian Chappell and Saba Karim said it was perfectly justifiable.
Gambhir elbowed Watson after an angry exchange of words on the opening day of the ongoing third Test against Australia here and later went on to insist in a press conference that it was an accidental run-in.
However, when called for a hearing by match referee Chris Broad, Gambhir pleaded guilty to the charges.
"It is perfectly justified because he is a young chap and he should be given a rap on the knuckles at the right time," said former captain Ravi Shastri favouring the ban that will be challenged by Gambhir in an appeal.
"It should not happen that he does such a thing in a World Cup and then gets banned for the final," he added.
Former Australian captain Ian Chappell agreed and said, "the ban is justified because cricket is not a contact sport."
Noted cricket writer and former county player Peter Roebuck hoped the punishment would act as a deterrent for Gambhir in future.
"I think it was the right decision because in cricket there is no place for physical abuse. I hope he will learn his lesson by such a decision at the right time," he said.
However, former India player Mohinder Amarnath did not subscribe to the view and said the ban was a tad too harsh considering that Watson had provoked Gambhir with his verbal assault. Watson was yesterday let off with a 10 per cent fine on his match fee.
"I think it is slightly harsh. I don't know what Watson said to him which provoked him to do such a thing," he said.