Dhoni's act finds praise

2011-08-01 10:45

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.


  • VargVikernes - 2011-08-01 11:04

    Well called old boy. Played like a gentleman.

      chappy - 2011-08-01 11:20

      I agree - although I do wonder if the roles were reversed if the English would have called an Indian batsman back on 137.

      McDaNife - 2011-08-01 11:57

      Really Dhoni was put under pressure, should have kept to the rules of the game. Bell was out and thats it, am sure if it was the other way round England would have stood their ground knowing these pommies. For FFS the man was on 137 and should have accepted the decision.

  • Ivanovich - 2011-08-01 11:13

    Good on Dhoni and the Indians for being so sporting, but the fact is that Bell was out, plain and simple. The England coach and captain should not have asked for him to be re-instated - this was not in the spirit of the game. Furthermore, I'm not even sure the umpires were correct in allowing him to be re-instated, as there was no doubt about the fact that he was out. This decisions also opens the door for further controversy in the future e.g. I didn't really means to hit my wicket; I wasn't concentrating when you bowled that ball; I was over the line and wasn't thinking that I needed to groud my bat; the fielder was in my way, etc. This was a school-boy error by a professional, and there was no good reason other than PR for the decision to be overturned. Morgan was clearly showing Bell to stay back, but Bell kept coming, and it looks like Bell even realised that he did not have enough time to get back to his crease. Finally, it appears that Bell was lying when he angrily stated that the Umpire had called "Over". I'm with the angry Indians on this one.

      Valis - 2011-08-01 11:43

      I agree 100%. Bell was out and shouldn't have thrown a tantrum. Dhoni was put under pressure by the English to reverse his decision, which he should never have done.

      RedScorpio - 2011-08-01 12:54

      Yeah, he was out, and that's it. Imagine England going to the Aussies dressing room and ask them to reverse their decision. F%ck off was the only words that they were going to get. The fact that Dhoni was put under pressure with his decision to recall Bell, leaves a sour taste.

  • MBP - 2011-08-01 11:32

    "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,".. Well said, I agree!! :)

  • balderdash - 2011-08-01 11:41

    The only party that violated the spirit of the game was England, by going behind the umpires' backs and putting pressure on the Indians to withdraw their appeal. Dhoni's spineless capitulation has now been cast as a virtue. We shall now watch to see whether England demonstrates a similar commitment to the spirit of the game as they strive to bowl India out and win the series. Fat chance!

      InternetMan - 2011-08-01 13:54

      Well they don't allow opposing teams runners if their batsmen are suffering from cramp while others do. We know that.

  • Redwine - 2011-08-01 11:50

    MS looking at the bigger picture you have proven that the game is bigger than the players and that specific moment in time. You will always go down in my book as one of the true greats of the game. I know you are at peace with yourself that you have done the right thing to promote the game and fostering the spirit it is supposed to be played in. One day, I hope not soon my wish is that you will move to politics and promote the same level of integratity at the highest level.

  • Mojojo - 2011-08-01 12:11

    I would like to look at it from the Fielder's point of view. He worked damn hard to chase down the ball, and save a boundry. He is 100% entitled to go for the runout and deserves the chance after his work. It is not the Indian team's fault that Bell was not attentive to what was happening with his shot, and he should be out. Dhoni was put under pressure, when Bell should be getting a tngue lashing from his Captain.

  • The_Lil_Wizard - 2011-08-01 12:28

    I just watched the video, and if it was in reverse I guarantee you the English would not have done the same! Bell walked out of his crease on the assumption that the ball went for 4, which it didn't, therefore the Indians were fully entitled to run him out! I commend Dhoni for his sportsmanship, but Bell should have been the one coming out and saying he was in the wrong and the decision was correct!

  • Kok - 2011-08-01 12:49

    Wonder what Greame Smit would have done???!!!!

      InternetMan - 2011-08-01 13:57

      Well i would hope that he would tell them to F*ck right off. That's for sure. Like Ivanovich said above, I'm with the angry indians on this one.

  • Billy - 2011-08-01 12:51

    What spirit of the game, Bell was out finish and klaar. Stupidity should not be rewarded at any level. The English were ready to make an issue out of it and India thought better of it, after all it is only a game. Where was the English spirit of the game when the Indians walked out onto the field. Sad losers the English, including their commentators.

  • Staalbal - 2011-08-01 12:52

    Give that man a Bells!

  • TheMan - 2011-08-01 13:41

    Cricket is termed " The gentleman's game". The English as the inventors of the game should have behaved like gentleman and respected the umpires decision and the laws of "their" game. I guess being a true gentleman is lost on the likes of the English as they are in blind-pursuit of that number one ranking. If they achieve it as a result of a victory by the extra 22 runs Ian Bell scored, will they refer to Dhoni's respect for the spirit of the game or will they say how hard they had worked over the past year to get to this position...the position of begging?

  • thabang Mawela - 2011-08-01 13:45

    well we all know andrew strauss wouldnt have done same thing,all he cares about is winning he has no sportsmanship in him. i recall him doing that to smith,smith was injured and he refused him a runner

  • camp.j - 2011-08-01 13:52

    "Welcomed by english cricket fans" my @rse. No idea why he retracted the appeal, Bell was OUT! Being englishman myself, i was embarrassed by all the booing when the Indians returned to the field after tea. Let's not forget what Paul Collingwood did a couple of season ago when a Kiwi batsmen collided with the bowler on the crease and was run out. The umpires approached him and suggested he withdraw the appeal for the good of the game. Collingwood made him walk. GO figure! GO India!

      InternetMan - 2011-08-01 14:57

      Wow. Usually the English celebrate hypocrisy or pretend it doesnt exist. You are a great man.

  • Saul - 2011-08-01 15:12

    Well Done Dhoni! Sport is not just about winning - its about the bringing together of people and uniting the world through a common medium - you have upheld the bigger picture. well done.

  • praxis - 2011-08-01 15:17

    I wonder what the australians would have done given the same circumstances

      Barry Edwards - 2011-08-01 17:32

      I think the Australians would probably have done something different :)

  • LACER8 - 2011-08-01 19:59

    Congrats Dhoni on true sportsmanship. It was sad to see the hypocritic English fans boo the Indian team as they emerged onto the field from the dressing room, completely unaware that the Indians had in fact retracted their decision to appeal for Bell's wicket...Red faced Poms indeed...To Strauss and your boys...go suck on a lollipop...

  • kingswing69 - 2011-08-03 12:39

    Remember when Kapil Dev ran out Kirsten and kepler hit him with the bat on his ankle

  • Pee-Jay - 2011-08-03 13:13

    M.S. Dhoni will cntinue to be my superstar. He has a long history of excellent sportsmanship and was almost single-handedly responsible for the establishment of the Indian Cricket team as numero uno as far as sportsmanship is concerned. M.S. is a versatile player, outstanding captain and probably the best wicketkeeper in the game today. Well done M.S. Pee-Jay

      saliem - 2011-08-04 12:10

      What would have happened if it had not coincided with the tea break? Dhoni wanted the decision to be upheld when he was still on the field.

  • Alistair Goble - 2011-08-05 13:11

    Bell should have hit his own wicket on the first ball he faced after tea - in the TRUE spirit of the game!! Dhoni - much respect, Bell - schoolboy error and now a guilt trip to match the embarrassment

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