Justice Sachs appointed commissioner for Gambhir’s appeal hearing (Lead)

November 1st, 2008 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan SinghNew Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) International Cricket Council (ICC) Saturday appointed Justice Albie Sachs as commissioner to hear Gautam Gambhir’s appeal against his one Test ban. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is hopeful that the opener will be able to play in the final Test in Nagpur as it takes time for the appeal process to be completed. There are just three days between the ongoing third Test and the fourth.

Sachs is a senior judge at the Constitutional Court of South Africa and is Cricket South Africa’s appointment on the ICC Code of Conduct Commission.

The India opener was found guilty of conduct contrary to the “Spirit of Cricket” during the ongoing third Test against Australia at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium here.

“Sachs will issue further directions in regard to the hearing in due course. The process indicates that the appeal should be heard within seven days of the commissioner being appointed,” an ICC statement said.

“In the mean time, according to the Code of Conduct regulations, Gambhir may continue to play, pending verdict of the appeal being given.”

With not much time left, and the ICC process likely to take some time, BCCI officials feel the in-form opener stays in contention for the final Test.

“It takes some time for the entire process to be completed. So with the appeal pending, Gambhir can play in the final Test,’ a top BCCI official told IANS.

Gambhir’s position is similar to Harbhajan Singh’s in Australia earlier in the year when Match Referee Mike Proctor slapped a three-Test ban on the off-spinner for an alleged racial slur at Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds during the controversial Sydney Test. The Indian team management lodged an appeal and Harbhajan was allowed to play in the next Test at Perth, pending the appeal.

Gambhir was banned for one Test by ICC Match Referee Chris Broad Friday after he pleaded guilty to a charge under Code (Level 2) which states that players shall at all times conduct play within the spirit of the game.

Gambhir was engaged in a skirmish with Shane Watson and both were found guilty of violating the ICC’s Code of Conduct. Watson hurled some abuses at Gambhir, who in return elbowed the all-rounder while taking a second run.

On-field umpires Billy Bowden and Aleem Dar charged both the players. While Watson escaped with a light penalty of just 10 percent of his match fee, Gambhir was given a harsher punishment as Broad felt that any kind of ‘physical contact’ is unacceptable in the game.

The ICC received official notification of the appeal from the BCCI Friday and the ICC Head of Legal David Becker appointed Sachs in accordance with ICC Code of Conduct processes.

Under the provisions of the ICC Code of Conduct, the commissioner has the power to increase, decrease, amend or otherwise substitute his own decision from that made at the previous hearing, and his decision is final and binding.

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