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Gautam Gambhir handed over a 4-match ban

Gambhir was involved in a heated altercation with Delhi coach earlier this year.

Gautam Gambhir
Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Gautam Gambhir who is no longer leading the Delhi team in domestic cricket was on June 17 (Saturday) handed over a 4-match ban from first-class cricket by the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) for his spat with Delhi team coach KP Bhaskar.

DDCA had ordered an enquiry in the issue and a committee comprising Justice Vikramjit Sen, the association’s chairman Madan Lal, Rajendra R Rathore and lawyer Soni Singh was constituted. After the enquiry, it concluded that the Indian opener was indeed guilty and his behaviour was labelled “serious” and “inappropriate”.

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In a statement issued by the state association, Sen wrote that they had decided to “suspend the punishment for a period of two years ending on 30th March 2019” conditional on Gambhir accepting this order and not committing any similar transgressions.

“Having learnt of an incident, which occurred when the team from DDCA was in Orissa, in which an altercation between Gautam Gambhir and Bhaskar Pillai had transpired, and pursuant to a complaint received from Pillai, I met both persons on 10th March 2017. The matter could not be amicably and satisfactorily resolved.

“The Committee Members agree that considering the above facts and circumstances that have come to light, Mr Gambhir’s actions towards Mr Pillai with premeditated intent to humiliate the coach were highly inappropriate and of serious nature. It is recommended that such inappropriate behaviour requires to be penalised not only in a proportionate manner, but in a manner that has a deterrent effect so that it is not repeated and such issues are taken seriously by all team members,” Sen stated as per TOI.

They aim to discipline the team and ensure no such incidents are repeated in the future which is in the best interest of the sport.

“The Committee members feel the necessity of deterrent effect of penalties on account of such seriously inappropriate behaviour to inculcate discipline within the team and in the interest of the game of cricket. Having such considerations and findings as above in mind, the Committee Members recommend that Mr Gautam Gambhir should not be allowed to play in 4 (four) First Class matches of the Delhi team at the start of the next season, i.e. 2017-18 on account of his deliberate and pre-meditated inappropriate behaviour,” he said.

History of the case

After Delhi’s Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign ended in Bhuvneshwar it was reported that Gambhir and Bhaskar had an ugly altercation and it went to an extent where the former Delhi skipper abused the coach.

In the committee’s words “It is evident from the above that the actions/conduct of Mr Gambhir on 6th March 2017 against the coach and the confrontation were pre-meditated as he called for the meeting after the match at lunchtime on a day when he was not even playing the match and he had remained in the hotel, since about lunchtime.

“It is further evident that Mr Gambhir intended to use some very sharp/inappropriate language and admittedly the arguments between the coach and Mr Gambhir were expected to be so ‘heated’ that he thought it prudent to save some of the younger players from witnessing it and therefore sent them outside the dressing room before starting the confrontation,” the statement further read.

Gambhir’s part

Gautam had also made severe allegations against the team coach and stated that he was playing with the careers of the youngsters in the team the likes of Unmukt Chand, Nitish Rana and Pawan Negi and making them insecure.

The committee considered his completing and recommended the DDCA to form a grievance redressal forum to address any such issues in the future.

“The Committee also recommends, in view of the significant grievances raised by Mr Gambhir during the hearing, which seem to have been given vent to in an inappropriate manner on account of lack of a proper grievance redressal system for the team members, that a grievance redressal system within the team is urgently required,” the statement read.

“It is also recommended that disciplinary action rules and mechanism of imposing penalty are required to be formulated to inculcate discipline in the team members and for predictability and deterrence, where players know that an act of indiscipline would have serious repercussions and are therefore deterred from committing them.”

The coach of the team is a post of high honour and commands respect from the team. A situation where he is insulted in front of his team is certainly uncalled for and in this regard the committee stated, “The position of a coach among the team members is of high respect and dignity. It is a serious disgrace to a coach to be humiliated in front of team members by one of the team members even though if it is a senior player.

“The actions of Mr Gambhir, however well intended, cannot be said to be in the interest of the team, or its performance or the game as it was done on the very last day of the season and therefore could not have been any corrective effect. The actions of Mr Gambhir were not in the spirit of the game,” the statement read.

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