New Delhi:Batting great Sunil Gavaskar on Friday flayed the one Test ban on Gautam Gambhir for elbowing Shane Watson and said it would upset the balance of the ongoing India-Australia series.
Gavaskar said Gambhir was guilty of misconduct but felt the one Test ban handed by Match Referee Chris Broad was too harsh, especially in comparison to the 10 per cent match fee fine imposed on Watson, who provoked the Indian opener.
"Gambhir is guilty, no doubt about that and it's (elbowing) just not on as far as cricket is concerned. But I think the punishment was little too harsh," the former India captain told a private channel.
"Look at Watson, the man who provoked him, he was handed a 10 per cent match fee fine. Well, if Gambhir has done something which is 10 times wrong, make it 100 per cent match fee for him. But see the quantum of punishment he got," Gavaskar said.
"By banning him for a Test match, it has changed the whole balance of the series. He is someone who has scored 400-plus runs in the series, two centuries and a double century. Now he is out of the Nagpur Test which would render India weak," Gavaskar argued.
The former opener said Gambhir deserved punishment for not learning from a similar incident last year involving him and Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi during a one dayer in Kanpur.
"He should be punished, otherwise he would not probably learn. I just feel (fining) 100 per cent match fee would have been the right thing," he said.
Gavaskar said the punishment meted out to Gambhir might encourage teams in future to provoke key opponent players till they do something silly and get banned.
"In future, it could become a tactics for teams to identify key opponent players with a short fuse, whom they consider dangerous, and provoke them to do something silly and get banned," Gavaskar said.