Gautam Gambhir was handed a suspended four-match ban from first-class cricket for his ugly spat with KP Bhaskar. © BCCI

Gautam Gambhir was handed a suspended four-match ban from first-class cricket for his ugly spat with KP Bhaskar. © BCCI

Gautam Gambhir was handed a suspended four-match ban from first-class cricket on Saturday (June 17) for his ugly spat with KP Bhaskar, the Delhi head coach, in March earlier this year.

A three-member enquiry committee constituted by Justice Vikramjit Sen, the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association administrator, comprising Madan Lal, Rajendra R Rathore and Soni Singh, termed Gambhir’s action as “humiliating” and “inappropriate”.

Sen, however, suspended the punishment for a period of two years, ending on March 30, 2019, conditional to Gambhir accepting the verdict and not committing any similar transgressions in the future.

The position of coach was one of “high respect and dignity”, Sen said in a statement as reported by PTI. “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 committee hoped the punishment would be a deterrent for others as well.

The Indian opener had accused Bhaskar of creating an insecure environment for youngsters during this year’s Vijay Hazare Trophy.

“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,” Sen said. “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.

“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.”

Gambhir had been axed as Delhi’s captain for the Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy and had to play under Rishabh Pant. Sen added: “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.”