England v India, 4th Investec Test, Old Trafford August 6, 2014

'I did something that was right' - Dhoni

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Judicial commissioner Gordon Lewis' verdict, and the ICC's response to it, have made it quite clear that India didn't have the evidence to get James Anderson successfully charged under Level 3 of the ICC Code of Conduct, but MS Dhoni - the man instrumental in driving the proceedings - has said he has no regrets about what has transpired. By all accounts, he went against the grain of the law and also pacifying efforts made by the BCCI, ECB and ICC, but had to make do with what many think was an embarrassing result for the Indian team. Dhoni said that he didn't think of the results when he pressed those charges.

"I did something that was right and I stand for what's right and what's wrong," Dhoni said. "If something wrong is happening, I will go against it, irrespective of who is doing it. If one of my players gets fined and if he has not crossed the line I will definitely go and defend him. If he has crosses that line I won't come with him, and he will have to face the consequences alone."

Dhoni conceded the evidence was not satisfactory and that it was time to move on, but a positive side-effect of the whole episode has been that the amount of inane and personal abuse that goes on cricket fields has become public. Dhoni made it clear that his main problem was physical contact in this case, but said cricket needed to sort the problem of abuse out. It has been mentioned in the lead-up to the Test that this is not a children's field and that in Test cricket you have to become tough. Dhoni wasn't entirely of the view that being tough equates to having to go through abuse.

"There are quite a few tournaments where we talk about the spirit of the game, but it is up to each individual to respect that and keep moving forward," Dhoni said. "A lot of time we need to think what really is spirit of the game, and it's very easy. One of our coaches says that whatever you don't want your children to watch on TV and follow it, that is against spirit of the game. Spirit of cricket is not about just the guidelines provided.

"The world has changed, and a lot of emphasis is put on winning games. It is called killer instinct but it has been misinterpreted a lot. Because at the same time we need to realise about MCC guidelines and spirit of game. At times officials are quite generous to individuals when they feel that in the heat of the moment someone has said something. They go ahead because it is a one-off. The kind of competition and pressure that we face today, an individual may neglect it to some extent. But if someone is consistent with his abuse he should be punished. Doesn't matter who he is. Once the umpire goes and tells him we have had enough, foul language should not be used. That's the point where if the individual doesn't curb himself, he needs to be punished. But the way cricket is played it's constantly on the move. We have to monitor it constantly but at the same time it's important that we play strong cricket."

Dhoni again put the emphasis on the umpires to make sure it doesn't get messy. "Strong characters are needed in the game," Dhoni said. "And it doesn't matter whether he is him [Anderson] or any other player in any other side, it can be someone from my side. What needs to be done is for umpires to step in when the individual crosses the line. What matters is that they stay within the guidelines and that's important for the game and the spectators."

Dhoni did point out that David Boon's Level 1 sanction of Ravindra Jadeja didn't quite go well with the side. "That's very interesting," Dhoni said. "Good thing that came out was that Jadeja was fined and as I said there is not even 1% mistake committed from his side. So that's good for us. After that it becomes all about evidence and it's really interesting what David Boon found out on the basis of which he fined 50% of his match fee."

One desired effect of the appeal has been the series has been played in pretty decent spirit after that first Test. When asked if England needed to control Anderson's behaviour, Dhoni said: "No need to control Anderson really. Vast difference between the way he played the first Test and the last couple of Test matches. He only needs to be controlled if something wrong is happening. You don't want everyone to be that one kind of thing because individuals bring character to the side. It's because of the 18-19 players that character of the side is made. Everybody is different in their own way. But there are certain guidelines (which) need to be followed and as long as they are following that it is okay."

Dhoni was gracious enough to put aside the incident when asked about Anderson the bowler, who is primed to become England's most successful bowler in Tests. "Terrific bowler," Dhoni said. "What is good about him is that how he comes up and confuses batsmen and gets his wicket. When we came here on the 2007 tour, he was working on his inswinger and didn't have much control on it. But now if you see, he is a different bowler and uses inswinger as his strength. So overall he is a terrific bowler, and from crowd's perspective this is the kind of bowler you want to see because he keeps on working out the batsmen and bowling aggressively."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on August 7, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    @Nutcutlet, Abuse is being adopted by some players as a way to unsettle an opponent. They have just carried on the mantle of friendly banter/sledging to the level of filthy personal abuse. While abusing, the abuser is communicating with the victim in a language that the victim understands; all in the name of unsettling the victim. How can I unsettle you by abusing you in Tamil/Hindi/Telugu? You wouldn't even care. Would you? You know it. So, this new equation that is being brought in, that who will monitor if the abuse is in Hindi/Tamil/Telugu, has no merit. Likewise, you can't abuse me in Afrikaans or Spanish etc. You know it. But, if you do get in my face in those other languages, I would obviously object to it and your sentences will be translated/monitored into a mutually understandable language and punishments handed out accordingly. If you swear to yourself in your own language and not communicating with me, then I just have nothing to complain either. Do I?

  • Nutcutlet on August 7, 2014, 9:44 GMT

    @ YorkshirePudding on (August 7, 2014, 6:54 GMT): I do take your point, but sledging /verbal abuse needs to be kept under some control. The obvious people to ensure that things don't get out of hand are the on-field umps. And it's here that things get muddy. The ICC just will not grasp this nettle and then there are the complex matters of language and culture. The distance that each culture regards as sacrosanct personal space varies (and therefore any intrusion into that personal space can be regarded as aggressive by one culture but not by another). Living in W Africa for a while, I noticed the minimal personal space (to me!) regarded as normal. It wasn't aggessive; it was just being sociable. I was the 'distant' English man! Then, language and the nuances: abuse and joshing can occasionally be confused. Then, if the umps only speak English, how can they check abuse in Hindi? To the bottom line: the umps definitely need empowerment, a sense of humour & a good measure of common sense.

  • VillageBlacksmith on August 7, 2014, 9:32 GMT

    @longmemory… totally agree… Irrespective of this I think MSD comes across as a very decent guy, I have a great amount of time & respect for him, same as Cook… Leading India must be a tough job, but even tho' I imagine he gets (very) well paid for it he carries himself well, has a great demeanour & talks well…

  • Rajesh_india_1990 on August 7, 2014, 9:25 GMT

    @alexk400 infact cricket universe is very lucky to have MSD as cricket player..........

  • Alexk400 on August 7, 2014, 8:58 GMT

    He is poor wicket keepr. Poor test batsman. But he is a terrific leader of men. I doubt india will even produce or even world will ever produce the cool head of MS Dhoni. I do not like dhoni for my own reasons. Thats aside india is lucky to have MSD as captain. When he is gone only India will understad the big hole in indian cricket. There will be many great captain but none will be cool in bad situations. He act as though he has seen future. The reason i donot like him because he never come out of his comfort circle. He does same strategy in every test.He take less risk. He takes risk only odds are favourable to him. No one is perfect though. We should be satisfied with atleast we got dhoni who is respected by everyone because of his leadership and character

  • YorkshirePudding on August 7, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    @Nutcutlet, great but when England raised the spectre of this in the last ashes series they were told to get over it by a lot of people on this board who are now complaining that this is being done to their team. Even the ICC said there was nothing they could do.

    So why is it alright for the Aussies to partake in this type of abuse and yet wrong for England to do so?

    Don't you see the double standards.

  • dummy4fb on August 7, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    It show's the true character of MSD. I completely agree with his statement what he has said. For Anderson neck to neck is the only solution.

  • dummy4fb on August 7, 2014, 3:42 GMT

    MSD, I was your fan and will always will be. Respect and Salute. Irrespective of the outcome of this incident, at least it will act as a deterrent for other team players against the once considered soft Indian team. We can already see Anderson less vocal in the last two tests and hope it will remain that way.

  • dummy4fb on August 7, 2014, 0:50 GMT

    @Nutcutlet on (August 6, 2014, 19:41 GMT):

    Very nicely put it. I fully share your sentiments. We need more true cricket lovers like you, (and they expressing such balanced views) to keep the fire burning, and keep our love for the game continue to be warm.

  • dummy4fb on August 7, 2014, 0:44 GMT

    A few things need to be stated, in the context of this report;

    1.Don't forget Dhoni is NOT a lawyer; he just performed his role as a leader of his troop.

    2. "India didn't have the evidence" is the wrog way of putting it; unless you are giving a legal report. The correct statement should have been "There was no audio or video evidence". And Dhoni is not in charge of microphones, and cameras. Certainly not responsible for the non-functioning camera in the corridor.

    3. Give Dhoni credit for fully appreciating Anderson as a bowler. Anderson the man, that too on that day, when he crossed the line attracted Dhoni's disappointment, and consequent reaction, which turned out to be fruitless. It is unfair to place the blame at Dhoni's door, for the legalistic result of the processes.

    4. Now, since the matter is over, (but still with license to some players to look out for missing microphones and non working cameras to went out their inner demons), let's move on and play cricket.

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