Former Indian opening batsman Gautam Gambhir has claimed that he did not elbow Shane Watson intentionally in 2008, although he got banned for that incident. He also added that he enjoyed sledging Ricky Ponting the most.
Gautam Gambhir and Irfan Pathan put forth their thoughts on various aspects of the game in the latest episode of the Star Sports show Cricket Connected, including the heated altercations they were involved in during their careers.
On being asked if the two of them had been involved in any skirmishes during the playing days, both of them denied any such happenings.
"I don't think we ever had a heated argument," said Pathan.
Gautam Gambhir corroborated Pathan's statement and added that all his altercations are known to everyone.
"Never! The world has seen whatever heated arguments I have had."
Gautam Gambhir quickly picked the Shane Watson elbowing incident when asked to choose his favourite skirmish in the field.
"Shane Watson! And the reason is I didn't do that intentionally. Actually I got banned after that game. Lot of people say that I elbowed him, but I didn't do that purposely."
The former Kolkata Knight Riders captain revealed that the Indian coach Gary Kirsten had asked him to accept his mistake in front of the match referee to avoid a ban, but that proved to be counterproductive.
"When I was going for the hearing to the match, Gary Kirsten told me to accept it as it is Chris Broad. He will give you the extra sympathy and he is not going to ban you. I went inside with Gary Kirsten and he asked if you accept your mistake. I said 'Yes' and he said you are banned."
Gautam Gambhir added that it was probably the worst penalty he received in his career and reiterated that the act was not intentional.
"That is the shortest hearing I have ever had in my entire international career and I got probably the worst punishment as well. And the worst thing was that I didn't do it intentionally."
Gautam Gambhir on sledging Ricky Ponting
Gautam Gambhir was further asked whom he enjoyed sledging the most other than Shane Watson, and the gritty opener revealed that it was Ricky Ponting.
The left-hander added that it was Ponting who started the verbals by stating that the former had not set the world on fire with his batting.
"Ricky Ponting in 2008. When Anil Kumble was the captain, in that series where I got a double hundred. In the 1st test match at Bangalore, he said that I had not sent the world on fire while I was batting and he was fielding at silly point."
Gautam Gambhir was quick to retaliate and reminded Ricky Ponting of his poor record in India.
"And I said 'Neither have you to be honest in India. You have been a bunny'. And his record says that as well that he has been a bunny in India."
Ricky Ponting has scored just 662 runs in the 14 Test matches he has played in India, at a lowly average of 26.48.