England v India, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's July 16, 2014

'It was good Jadeja did not retaliate' - Dhoni


Fifteen minutes after Alastair Cook suggested India were being cheeky in making an official complaint against James Anderson, trying to eliminate their best bowler from the series, MS Dhoni sought to bring attention back to who the victim - so to speak - was. India are known to sidestep these issues and omit to discuss them in press conferences by either banning such questions or putting up a player who is farthest from the events, but this time Dhoni himself addressed the pre-match press conference. He has been known to miss press conferences over lesser controversies.

Dhoni spent the first half of the press conference trying to laugh off questions and repeatedly citing legal requirements to not speak about the incident in detail, but when told of Cook's insinuation, he opened up a little bit. "It's not something that we have done," Dhoni said, showing the first signs of stress. "Let's realise the fact. Like in a press conference you can ask me tough questions. I have the right to answer them or not to answer them, but in no way can I go and touch you. Or you can come and touch me. You can put it in whatever way you want to but there are certain things that need to be followed, and it should be followed."

Dhoni wouldn't talk about the specifics of what happened and where it happened, but made sure he mentioned Ravindra Jadeja was touched, in a manner serious enough for India to consider these charges, and that Jadeja did not instigate Anderson. The ICC's release said the incident happened on the second day of the Trent Bridge Test when the players were walking back for lunch. Dhoni and Jadeja were the unbeaten batsmen, and Anderson had been quite vocal after an appeal was turned down on the first ball of the last over before lunch.

Dhoni appreciated how Jadeja handled the incident, not losing his cool and becoming a victim of what he says has in the past been the opposition's ploy to unsettle their players. "The good thing is it is not something that has happened for the first time," Dhoni said. "It is a constant thing that keeps happening. Frankly, usually, we have been on the receiving end a lot of times where somebody starts something and we retaliate and we get fined or different kinds of offences are levelled against us.

"It was good on Jadeja's part to not really do something. It could have gone a bit far, but I felt he addressed this in the most appropriate manner. That's something we will have to learn and move forward. Someone has to back off at the right time. At the end of the day we play sport and lot of people look up to us, and there is a lot of responsibility on us."

Dhoni insisted on following the guidelines that bar physical contact. "We talk a lot about the spirit of cricket and everything, and there are guidelines that need to be followed," Dhoni said. "There have been a few individuals from our side too in the past that have crossed the line. It's a very difficult one. You can be aggressive, you can be vocal, but there are certain guidelines that are laid out, and we should follow that."

Dhoni was asked what it would do to the relationship between the players of the two sides, and if he feared the series could take an ugly turn. "I am not worried about that," Dhoni said. "Definitely I would like to make sure the remainder of the series is played in the right spirit, but at the same time it is not docile. We want players to be aggressive, say a few things, but at the same time it is very important to not flow with it and cross the boundaries. I think it is our responsibility to play the game in the right spirit. We will try our best to maintain that."

There has been a suggestion that given the ICC reforms that have put the BCCI and the ECB in close partnership, there had been deliberations to resolve this matter without an official complaint, and that it was Dhoni who insisted otherwise. When asked to comment on the speculation, Dhoni said, "Let's talk about the Test match. We are playing at Lord's, and we all know the importance of Lord's."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Will on July 17, 2014, 21:15 GMT

    Having seen the MCC stance on mankading I fully expect them to release a statement in due course outlining how sledging is perfectly OK.

    No one thinks about the fans any more. Even the MCC have become a joke.

  • Dummy4 on July 17, 2014, 14:47 GMT

    Sledging in cricket is like playing golf in front of a group of clowns, or playing Pool while your opposition is blowing in your ear, it's a joke, and verbal abuse and sledging is more physical than people realise.

  • Amit on July 17, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    I Nothing wrong in on field trash talk. However, physical contact should be dealt with severest punishment to deter future repeat. Plain and simple.

  • anuj on July 17, 2014, 12:40 GMT

    @gbqdgj: don't jump to conclusions so early. Ind told ICC about the incident and they send their lawyer for some kind of settlement but dhoni was adamant. then ICC had no choice but to intervene. care to view the whole episode then start commenting.

  • Matt on July 17, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    To all, I accept that I made a mistake on the reporting date, but if it was that serious then why nor make the official complaint immediately? And no one has answered the point on perspectives...so what would you view have been?

  • Aniruddha on July 17, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    @gbqdgj, before you start with your conspiracy theories, check the ESPN report which clearly states taht the complain was made whithin 24 hours. for a level 3 offence, as mentioned in ICC rule book, the complain is not via match officials. This is not my or Dhoni's opinion, but ICC rules. read the espn article to understand it and educate yourself (I too did the same). On friday ICC tried mediation. but when that failed formal charges were pressed.The press reported it after the test ended. that does not mean that Indian team reported this incident after the test ended on Sunday. http://www.espncricinfo.com/england-v-india-2014/content/story/760805.html

  • Kannan on July 17, 2014, 9:18 GMT

    The fundamental problem with the BCCI is that it gags the players. Players who have been offended / abused should have every right to speak up not only for themselves but also to ensure that the offense is escalated to merit everybody's attention so that it doesn't get repeated, as also to ensure that the offender is put under an embarrassing spotlight. This will ensure that countries with a culture of sledging and other aggressive behavioural display off and on the filed, will quickly reform their attitude and condition their players to behave better.

  • Arun on July 17, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    We should now coin a new term for physical jousting in sportsmanship's parlance. We should call it physical disintegration, in tribute to the great Waugh who gave us that amazing concept of mental disintegration. For the spectators, pushing and shoving can look like complete denigration of the sport itself but who cares? We need to justify what's done, so, let's give it a new name and shove it into the list of acceptable behavior.

  • cric on July 17, 2014, 8:05 GMT

    I hate sledging in Cricket. It has traditionally been a Gentleman's sport. Most players have shown excellent temperament and sportsmanship except for few individuals who believe that mouthing off your opponent is a useful tactical ploy. Such players are usually repeat offenders and each time they get away with such behavior, gives them further incentive to engage in such tactics again. Cricket Administrators all over the world, should take a serious look at sledging in all formats of the game and try to stamp it out by setting clear guidelines for all players. We don't want to see a boxing match in the middle of a cricket pitch any time soon.

  • Raghav on July 17, 2014, 7:42 GMT

    @gbqdgj : Get your facts right before discussing perspectives. The complaint was made on Friday - within 24 hrs.

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