Kolkata, Nov. 27 (NNN) : Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly will be able to lead the team against the South Africans after winning his appeal against a two-Test ban imposed for time-wasting in a one-day match.
Confirming this, BCCI Secretary Karunakaran Nair said, "ICC adjudicator Tim Castle's decision rules in Sourav's favour. The two-Test ban has been quashed.”
In his ruling, Castle said: "The circumstances were particularly unusual in this game and a large number of them conspired to cause the delays which occurred."
On his part, Ganguly said: "I did not want to miss any more matches. I am thankful to God, to the BCCI officials, my lawyers and Tim Castle. I am looking forward to the next Test match against South Africa."
Ganguly had taken part in a teleconference with Castle on Thursday, and becomes the first person successfully to appeal against a ban. He hired top lawyer Siddharth Shankar Ray, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, and said afterwards that he felt the hearing had gone well.
Ganguly had been punished by match referee Clive Lloyd for his side's slow bowling in a match against Pakistan, also in Kolkata, on November 13. He was initially banned for the two Tests against South Africa but allowed to play in the first match, which ended in a draw on Wednesday, because it was deemed unfair to hear the appeal on the morning of the first Test.
Castle, a judge and arbitrator on the Court of Arbitration for Sport, had the power to increase, decrease or amend the penalty or otherwise substitute his own decision for that of Lloyd's.
Ganguly had been fined twice before this year in similar circumstances, in Sydney and Karachi. His appeal cited frequent hold-ups caused by injuries to players and the ball getting wet because of excessive dew in the day/night match in Calcutta.
The ICC had suspended Ganguly for two Test matches for slow over rate against Pakistan in the Platinum Jubilee one-day international at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
ICC match referee Clive Lloyd, who held a hearing of the match officials, found the captain guilty.
The ICC also fined India's Irfan Pathan (50 per cent of the match fee) and Pakistan's Yousuf Youhana (75 per cent), finding them guilty of breaching the code of conduct for entering into an altercation during the match.
According to an ICC release, Ganguly breached clause C1 of the code of conduct for players and/or team officials.
Since this was Ganguly's second similar offence within a span of 12 months -- the previous being during the tour of Australia earlier this year -- the seriousness of the offence had become more resulting in his suspension with immediate effect, the release said.
Ganguly had also missed the last two Tests in the recent four- Test series against Australia due to injury.
"The ICC code relating to over rates needs to be strictly observed and it is important for all the stakeholders in the game, to have matches finished on time," Lloyd said. "The allotted three and half hours is ample time to bowl the required 50 overs. So captains need to ensure that all efforts are made to achieve this."
Indian squad for second Test: Sourav Ganguly (Capt), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Mohammad Kaif, Dinesh Karthik , Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra, Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik.
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