Gautam Gambhir

Indian cricket was brought to shame by two cricketers -- Gautam Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary -- as they came close to blows after being involved in a heated exchange during a Ranji Trophy game in Delhi on Saturday.

Tiwary said that he was disappointed with the way Gambhir brought the most celebrated Bengal cricketer Sourav Ganguly's name during the incident, which led to some ugly scenes on the field. One has witnessed players being involved in sledging at various levels of cricket, but Tiwary believes that cricketers should not cross the line.

"Somewhere his name was also raised during that incident yesterday. I don't know exactly what happened. Something was said. That's why I was very upset. We represent Bengal and don't want to listen something against the community. Sledging is fine but players should know where to hold back and not cross the line," Tiwary said.

However, Gambhir has refuted all claims put forward by Tiwary stating that the allegations levelled against him are baseless as he respects Ganguly and the Bengali community.

"On Sunday, Manoj Tiwary stooped to a new low by claiming that I made racist remarks about Bengali community and my favourite India captain and one of the best cricketers I have played under, Mr Sourav Ganguly, whom I fondly call Dada," Gambhir said in a statement.

"Let me categorically state here that these allegations are baseless and Tiwary's way of sensationalising things through his figment of imagination. First of all, I am a proud Indian who respects all religions, communities and sexes."

"Then, ever since I have had the honour of leading Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, I have been humbled by the love and affection showered on my team and me by Bengali community. I have said in numerous interviews that Bengal is my second home."

"It is unfortunate that Dadas name was dragged in by Tiwary, perhaps to gain cheap publicity."

A complete report has already been sent to the BCCI, who will look into the matter.

However, the roots of such embarrassment lie in the Ranji game between Bengal and Delhi during the eighth over of the game on Saturday when Bengal batsman, Tiwary, came in to bat at number four. Tiwary, who had come into the batting crease wearing his cap, signalled towards the dressing room for a helmet when he was about to face bowler Manan Sharma.

The Delhi players, who had just taken a wicket, were upbeat and thought that Tiwary was just wasting time, and bowler Manan made Tiwary angry by saying something. Gambhir, who was present in the slip cordon, began to abuse Tiwary for his act and the Bengal skipper did not remain quiet about it.

This resulted in some heated exchange and Gambhir even charged towards Tiwary, but umpire K Srinath, despite being pushed by Gambhir, came in between these players.