After on-field spat, Gambhir says he never pushed umpire

After an ugly on-field altercation between Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir and his Bengal counterpart Manoj Tiwary during a Ranji Trophy match in Delhi on Saturday, the former issued a statement clarifying that he never “pushed any on-field umpires”.

It was reported in a section of the media that Gambhir had pushed an umpire when he tried to intervene as players of both teams got involved in a war of words during the third day’s play in the match at the Ferozeshah Kotla.

“It’s factually incorrect,” Gambhir said in a statement late in the evening. “After conceding first-innings lead [of 108 runs], we were keen to press home the advantage by playing positive cricket. The match was extremely well poised and we got fielders around Manoj trying to pressurise him.”

Gambhir further says, “At which point he started taking longer than usual to face the next ball. My team-mates urged Manoj to refrain from wasting time. Instead of getting on with his batting he started abusing some of Delhi players. At which point I came in and told him what I thought about his demeanour and there was a verbal exchange.”

The Delhi captain said that the umpires “did a wonderful job of calming the situation by intervening right there. And the matter ended.”

In the statement, Gambhir admits he and Tiwary were summoned by BCCI match referee Valmick Buch and claims there were no video footage that could establish that he had indeed pushed an umpire.

“At no point did I threaten or push any on-field umpires. Nor did I threaten to beat Manoj up. In fact, I attended match referee’s hearing post the day’s play where he accepted that he doesn’t have any video evidence of me pushing the umpire,” said Gambhir. “On the contrary, the match referee conceded he had video evidence where Manoj is seen pushing Pradeep Sangwan. I am not complaining here but stating what the honourable match referee told me.”

After the hearing, Buch reportedly fined Gambhir 70 percent of his match fee and Tiwary 40 percent. However, Buch was not available to confirm the quantum of fine.

Gambhir stressed that a particular story quoting him saying some harsh words to Tiwary was baseless.

“Then, there are parts of the news story which claim to be quoting my verbal exchange with Manoj. May I humbly add here that the comments attributed to me are incorrect. And how a reporter who is sitting beyond the 60-yard boundary line quote something which is happening near the pitch?” he wondered. “I am a proud cricketer who is trying to win Ranji Trophy for my state. ‎For me it is a game of cricket where both teams are fired up to win and may the best team win.”

Some reports said that DDCA had fined Gambhir 50 per cent of his match fee. But DDCA vice-president Chetan Chauhan told that the association had no right to fine players when a BCCI match referee was present at the ground.

Late in the night, Tiwary tweeted to contradict what Gambhir had said in his statement. “I don’t wish to get into a mud-slinging match with Gautam Gambhir. Needless to say what he is saying is not the truth,” tweeted Tiwary. “I would be happy to share the truth once the match ends.”

In the match, Bengal scored 357 while batting first, with Tiwary scoring 55, and Delhi were all out for 249. In their second innings, Bengal were 47 for three wickets, taking their overall lead to 155 runs.

Sunday is the last day of the match and Bengal would look to set a target to Delhi by scoring fast in the first session of play.

Delhi had a flying start to the season, winning two of the first three matches and they are currently atop Group A with 14 points. Bengal are also in the same group and both their matches prior to this game had ended in draws.

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