Dhoni's act finds praise

2011-08-01 10:45
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (AFP)

New Delhi - India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to recall Ian Bell after a bizarre runout at Trent Bridge on Sunday will have gone down well with English cricket fans but his act of sportsmanship appears lost on some of his compatriots.

Bell was on 137 when he walked off the crease believing the tea break was being taken. The Indians felt the game was still live and took off the bails.

After some deliberation between the umpires, who strictly followed the laws of the game, Bell was given out much to the displeasure of the 15 000 crowd and the England team.

Approached by the English team management in the break, Dhoni decided to recall Bell, who went on to add 22 more runs before being dismissed.

For some, the incident brought back memories of the 1980 Mumbai Test in which India captain Gundappa Viswanath recalled Bob Taylor after the England stumper-batsman was ruled caught behind.

But former Test cricket Sanjay Manjrekar said the Bell incident was completely different.

"Sorry ... but don't agree with Dhoni's decision to call Bell back ... it was not a case of batsman wrongly given out," the cricketer-turned-commentator wrote on his Twitter page.

"Many years back G.R Viswanath called back Bob Taylor when he was wrongly given out ... that was an appropriate gesture of spirit, I thought.

"Ian Bell was being very casual, almost careless, walking off before a definitive call from umpire for boundary or tea and deserved to be out."

While Dhoni's gesture was lauded by the International Cricket Council and the England and Wales Cricket Board some raised questions about it.

"...Dhoni reverses his decision at tea break - politics in sport or the right thing?" spin great Shane Warne, hugely popular in India, wrote on his Twitter page.

Some fans also wondered whether Dhoni would have arrived at the same decision in a World Cup final.

The majority, however, congratulated the Indian captain for looking beyond the laws and upholding the spirit of the game.

"Proud of you Dhoni! Spirit of game is more important than the result. Win the hearts and you will win the game too! India is proud of you," sports minister Ajay Maken said.

Dhoni's former captain Anil Kumble, known for impeccable integrity, also hailed him for making the right call.

"I think it was the right decision. I'm proud of the way they played the game in the right spirit," the retired leg-spinner told CNN-IBN channel.

Another former India spinner Maninder Singh reckoned the senior players helped Dhoni take the right decision.

"He has some sensible people in the dressing room - Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and (coach) Duncan Fletcher. Those heads have also helped Dhoni take the right decision and I'm proud of him," said the former left-arm spinner.

Lalit Modi, who was axed as commissioner of the Indian Premier League for giving "a bad name to the administration of cricket, also lauded Dhoni.

"The stand the Indian team took ... in the Ian Bell case was the right thing to do, even though they did not need too. Kudos to the Indian team," Modi said.

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