Shane Watson was found guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct and was fined 10% of his match fee. Watson was found guilty of “verbally engaging with Gambhir in a manner that was not in keeping with the spirit of cricket”.
Yesterday, we wrote here about how Gautam Gambhir was not the new-hate in Australian media circles!
Watson pleaded not guilty to the offense during his hearing but Chris Broad, the Match Referee, ruled against him and found him in breach on a Level-1 offense. There is no right of appeal for Level 1 offenses and the Match Referee’s decision is final.
Both sides, Australia and India, have been involved in escalating the seriousness of the incident.
While the two teams did not involve themselves in any scandalous behind-the-scenes maneuvers to get the charges laid (or upgraded), the Australian media team has been busy, trying to get Gautam Gambhir’s charge upgraded. Michael Brown, CA’s operations manager, denied any attempts by Cricket Australia to get Gambhir’s charge upgraded.
Meanwhile, Sunil Gavaskar doing commentary, tried to put the case forward for the provoker as well as the provoked to be charged and found. I have extreme sympathy with this position.
Gambhir does have a prior in this regard. Shahid Afridi and Gautam Gambhir clashed famously in an India-Pakistan ODI at Kanpur. The incident was similar to the Watson-Gambhir incident in the sense that there was niggle in the lead up between the main actors. Words were spoken before, during and after the incident and then there was the mid-pitch collision itself to contend with.
Gautam Gambhir’s hearing has been adjourned until Friday morning so that match referee Chris Broad can review the evidence. I fully expect Gambhir to be found guilty of a Level 2 offense which states that players “shall at all times conduct play within the spirit of the game as well as within the laws of cricket”. Gambhir has claimed that the reflex action on his part was an accident.
Interestingly, he has pleaded “guilty” to the charge; an act that might get him off lightly. If found guilty of the Level 2 offense, the Match Referee could impose a penalty ranging from a fine of more than half of his match fee (upto 100%) to a two-game (ODIs) suspension.
I expect Gambhir to get at least 80% of his match fee docked. Given that Chris Broad has requested additional time to review the evidence, he may even receive a suspension. Either way, he must cop it on the chin and learn to deal with it.