Spirit of cricket – The Ian Bell incident – late reversal by MS Dhoni

Bell vented his frustration against disgraceful Indian appeal © PA Photos

India are on tour in England playing 4 test matches, 1 T20 and 5 ODI’s. With India already 1 down after the defeat in the first test, it seems probable that they are now (1st August 2011) very much looking at a 2nd test defeat to England. Yesterday’s play was very much a deciding factor in determining the favours for the teams for this test match. A day where England score more than 400 runs against the current number 1 team.

What was interesting in yesterday’s play was the controversial incident involving the highest run scorer of the match : Ian Bell. When he was on 137 and on the stroke of tea, Eoin Morgan hit the last ball of the 66th over to deep square leg where Praveen Kumar made a mess of it trying to stop it from going to the boundary. PK himself thought it had gone for a boundary and casually returned the ball back. By this time, the pair had already run 3 runs. Most of the fielders including Dhoni were walking back to the pavilion when Abhinav Mukund took off the bails and appealed for a run-out since Ian Bell was already out of his crease and punched gloves with his partner and walking towards the pavilion.

Umpires were ready to walk off as well and due to the appeal, they wanted to check with the Indians (it was asked 3 times from them apparently) whether they had appealed. Since they said ‘yes’, it was given to the third umpire to check whether the ball had crossed the boundary and since it had not, it was decided that since Bell was out of his crease, he was deemed ‘Out’.

A lot of arguments unfolded on twitter with regard to the disgraceful attempt by India to claim a wicket (and that of the in-form batsmen). The crowd at Trent Bridge were also outraged and ‘booed’ the umpires for the decision.

However, during tea, the England captain and coach had requested Dhoni and Co to consider over turning the decision (within the laws of the game, it is possible as long as the next ball was not bowled or being in the process of being bowled [i.e. the bowler getting ready at his mark]).

As after discussing with the team, Dhoni agreed to bringing back Ian Bell into the crease.

In the end, IMHO the right decision was made, from a Sri Lankan prospective, we had also faced such a situation when we were playing New Zealand and Muttiah Muralitharan was run out by the wicketkeeper.

So Ian Bell returned and ended up scoring valuable runs (159) for England as England ended up scoring more than 400 in the day.

With Dhoni giving into the request by England, he did the right thing in the end, but that doesn’t mean that it was an example for others. If its setting about an example, then the overturn should have come BEFORE they went to tea and said ‘no’ when the umpires asked if they were appealing.Spirit of the game was lost when they said ‘yes’ 3 times to the umpires request.Which brings us to another incident of a reversal of decision by the captain BEFORE the batsmen walked off to the pavilion. Have a look at this video of Marvan Atapattu recalling Andrew Symonds (after requesting from the umpires)

On a side note – It was worth noting that Sourav Ganguly who was asked if he would have recalled Ian Bell, he immediately said ‘yes’.  And I am somewhat sure that Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar were also involved in convincing Dhoni that the right decision of getting Ian Bell back to the crease was needed.

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Comments
4 Responses to “Spirit of cricket – The Ian Bell incident – late reversal by MS Dhoni”
  1. Anonymous says:

    yeah.. recalling after tea doesn’t make Dhoni a better sportsman.. it just avoided an ugly incident over shadowing a wonderful performance by England team..

  2. budhajeewa says:

    This is why I don’t want cricket to be Indian-ized.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree – Dhoni should not have appealed in the 1st place. Once the decision was made, he did the honourable thing by calling him back. I also agree that it would have taken some persuasion from Dravid, SRT etc to do it.

  4. Hansanee JG says:

    In my opinion, Dhoni intentionally or unintentionally made the correct decision at the field. (Either they needed a wicket so badly or just going by rules). There are recorded rules in the books, but in the name of ‘Spirit of cricket’ the rules should change is just a ridiculous idea. If I am to talk about ‘Sportsmanship’, in my view, Ian Bell should’ve been the one to accept his mistake he had done and should’ve gone back to the pavilion. If he did that, he must have shown the real sportsmanship. Don’t know whether approached or not, but Dhoni reversing his first decision, is not ‘Sportsmanship’ nor ‘Spirit of cricket’ to me. Sanga-Murali incident was a little bit alike, but mind you, Murali is a tailender & Bell is a middle-order batsman. As I’ve heard Murali was given out, yet both Murali & the team accepted the fact he was out. It wasn’t anything alike what England had done. Don’t know whether I’m correct, but it’s just my opinion. 🙂 Great post on what happened really.

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