Dhoni hits out at controversial decisions
MS Dhoni has said that India were at the receiving end of both the controversial decisions today in their big loss to Australia, which has left them only a small window in the back door if they are to make it to the finals. David Hussey was ruled not-out in an appeal for handling the ball under Law 33 as it was deemed he stuck his hand out to avoid an injury. Sachin Tendulkar was trying to complete a tight run when he found the bowler Brett Lee in the way near the striker's end. In going around Lee, he lost on valuable time and was caught short by a direct hit.
For Dhoni, Hussey was out "plain and simple" despite the explanation given by umpire Billy Bowden. Dhoni's argument was that Hussey's hand was stuck out far enough in front of his body to make self-preservation a dubious argument. "Like you said, protecting yourself [holding his hand close to the body] I was also happy, but if you are protecting yourself [stretching his hand further] it is not good."
Dhoni reasoned with the example of the dismissal of Inzamam-ul-Haq in Peshawar in 2006 when he blocked a throw with his bat. "I was involved in another run-out in Pakistan, where Inzi bhai defended something that was right at his face, and he was given out," Dhoni said. "In this case David was really lucky. I think he should have been given out, but it is not in my hand."
However, Dhoni forgot a technicality in Inzamam's case because he was given out for obstructing the field. Hussey couldn't have been ruled out for obstructing the field because he touched the ball with the hand not holding the ball. Hussey's case falls under the handling-the-ball law, and that law has provision for self-preservation.
Dhoni equated Hussey's outstretched hand to a handball in football. "In his judgement he was protecting himself, but his hand was too far ahead," Dhoni said. "Just like an example, a soccer incident where your hands are popping out and it hits your hand, you get a penalty irrespective of what's happening. So that's why I said, plain and simple, it is out."
About Tendulkar's run-out, Dhoni complained of different yardsticks on different days. "I need to give an example of what happened in the Brisbane game that I was playing in [on February 19]," Dhoni said. "Vinay [Kumar] was bowling, we had a slip, and we didn't have a midwicket. And the ball went to the point fielder, Vinay crossed the wicket and he was coming towards midwicket [to back up the throw].
"The umpire came up to him and said, 'You are not allowed to do that.' But he was doing something that was well within the laws of the game. I don't think we can justify the fact that Lee was going towards the point fielder. I don't think he had any business there. Then he stopped right in front of Sachin, which means you have to take a longer way, across him. That's my reading of that particular run-out."
In the game Dhoni spoke out, Bowden and Steve Davis were the umpires, but Dhoni doesn't remember who out of the two warned Vinay. Dhoni felt that tonight Bowden - the umpire at the non-striker's end when Tendulkar was run out - should have intervened.
"It was a bit unjustified," Dhoni said. "He [Tendulkar] had to take those extra yards. As the incident I spoke about, which happened a few games ago, I think Billy should have said something, because he was in a better position to see where exactly the bowler was and where he stopped. It was very difficult for Simon [Taufel, the leg umpire] to take a call because he had no clue as to which angle the batsman was running, and where Lee actually stopped."
Dhoni wasn't in the middle to remind the umpires of the Brisbane incident, but he felt it wouldn't have made any difference. "Once the decision is given, you can only sit there and cry and cry and it still goes in the opposition's favour."
Dhoni did call for clearer laws, though. "As I said, you look at it [the Hussey incident] and it seems out," Dhoni said. "I don't know why it was given not out. But what also can be done is to have hard lines as to this is what it is. What happens is, you have different umpires in different games, and like the umpire said [even] if it was an Indian batsman he would have given not out, but it's not there at that point of time. Things like this happen once in a while. It should be like, 'This is what happened, okay we should give him out.'
"Because if there are a lot of ifs and buts, you have these umpires coming in for two or three games, and we keep on shuffling them. I may have a view in a particular game, but I may not be there in another game and the new man coming in has a different view and by that time it is our batsman who is standing there. So we will be on the receiving end from both the umpires."
Dhoni said India could have done better to come back from those decisions. "The umpires took the decision so no real point blaming the decision because at the end of the day that will stay," Dhoni said. "What can be done is, in case of the Sachin run-out, the next batsman going in can try to stabilise the innings. In case of the David Hussey run-out, the next bowler can put pressure and try and get the batsman out. This is how it goes. Once the umpire has taken the decision, it stays."
Shane Watson, Australia's captain, said that Bowden and Taufel were two of the most respected umpires, and he was sure they had made the right call in interpreting the law. When asked about the Tendulkar decision, Watson cheekily said that he thought Tendulkar was upset with Gautam Gambhir's call.
Edited by Abhishek Purohit
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo