ANDREW Gale has been banned from Yorkshire's last two LV= County Championship matches for his part in a heated verbal altercation with Lancashire's Ashwell Prince during Tuesday's third day at Emirates Old Trafford.
The Yorkshire captain led his side to a seventh win of the season today and a 26-point lead over second-placed Nottinghamshire with two matches to play, but now his season is over.
Gale used foul language towards the South African batsman during the closing stages of day three, having become frustrated with the left-hander's apparent bid to slow things down so that he could minimise the number of overs he and Usman Khawaja faced in their bid to avoid defeat.
Finger and bat jabbing continued from a distance as they left the field at close, although Gale accepted that he had crossed the line before the start of day four yesterday and apologised.
However, the incident was reported by umpires Steve Garratt and Steve O'Shaughnessy, and Gale's previous has cost him dear.
He earned six penalty points for questioning the umpire's decision in the reverse fixture in May, and that haul was matched today following an innings and 18-run win over the Red Rose.
He looked inconsolable on the dressing room balcony after the match and Jason Gillespie said: "He's our leader, the leader of Yorkshire County Cricket Club. For him to be missing out on the last two games is devastating for the man himself.
"We really feel for him and are disappointed. His season's over and he's quite understandably devastated after such a great win here."
Yorkshire can win the title in next week's clash at Trent Bridge. Notts, who lost at Durham yesterday, need to better the White Rose's points haul in that match by three to take the title race beyond next week.
Lancashire, trailing by 332 on first innings, slipped from 144-2 at the start of play to 314 all out as Adil Rashid claimed 5-117 from 40. It was the Bradfordian leg-spinner's first five-wicket haul since last June.
The ECB released news of Gale's ban approximately two hours after the end of the fixture and there remains a chance that further action could be taken. Quite what that would be remains unclear.