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England v India, 2nd npower Test, Trent Bridge, 3rd day

Dhoni chooses grace over gamesmanship

MS Dhoni's decision to recall Ian Bell has set an example worthy of emulation

Sambit Bal at Trent Bridge

July 31, 2011

Comments: 74 | Text size: A | A

Much to the surprise of everyone at the ground, Ian Bell emerged from the pavilion after tea, England v India, 2nd npower Test, Trent Bridge, 3rd day, July 31, 2011
Ian Bell returned to bat after spending the tea interval dismissed © Getty Images

By putting the wider interests of the game ahead of his team's, MS Dhoni, a man of many remarkable leadership qualities, has not only underlined that generosity and grace can exist in the highly competitive environment of professional sport, but also lifted the mood of the series, which was in danger of turning ugly and mean-spirited by incidents on and off the field.

Even in the best of times, the spirit of cricket is a fuzzy and obscure thing. India were perfectly entitled to appeal for the run out after Ian Bell decided to call tea himself without bothering to confirm whether the ball was still in play. The umpire had neither signalled a boundary nor called over; even though Praveen Kumar, the fielder who had tumbled near rope, had shown no real intent behind the throw, he had given no indication of it being a four; and most tellingly, Eoin Morgan, Bell's batting partner, had motioned for him to return to his crease.

Bell could cite genuine misapprehension in his favour, but upon reflection, he ought to know it was a school-boy error, and even though the umpires asked the Indian team to reconsider the appeal, he was given out legitimately. There were three former England captains on air, and they had no doubt that England would have done the same in similar circumstances. India needed a wicket desperately at that stage, and even though it wouldn't have felt earned, they were within their right to be opportunistic. In fact, the only commentator who evoked the spirit of cricket at that moment was Shane Warne.

The trouble is that the spirit of cricket is often evoked arbitrarily and conveniently. Certainly, no clear definition exists, and cricket conducts itself with an eccentric moral code. Batsmen are entitled to stand their ground after edging, fielders appeal even when they know it is in vain, and verbal intimidation of an opponent is considered acceptable within a limit. England's fielders wouldn't have been impervious to the huge nick from Harbhajan Singh, who was wrongly adjudged leg-before on the second day, and the replays confirmed it before the batsman had left the playing arena. The withdrawal of the appeal, though, was neither a consideration, nor an expectation. And despite Dhoni's gesture today, such a thing is unlikely to happen in this Test, or this series.

Certainly, there is precedence for batsmen being run out in innocent circumstances. New Zealand chose to stay with their appeal when Muttiah Muralitharan, after completing the single that gave Kumar Sangakkara a hundred in Christchurch in 2006-07, walked down the wicket to congratulate his partner before the ball was dead. And the boot was on the other foot when England, under Paul Collingwood, chose to appeal after Grant Elliot was unable to regain his crease following a mid-pitch collision with Ryan Sidebottom in a one-day match at The Oval in 2008. Guess the identity of the fielder who relayed the ball to Kevin Pietersen, who took off the bails: Ian Bell.

No doubt, there would have been outrage among Indian fans and the media had an Indian top-order batsman been given out in similar circumstances. In 1999, against Pakistan at Eden Gardens, Sachin Tendulkar was run out by a direct hit from the boundary because he lifted his bat after getting into a tangle with the bowler. It was instructive that while there was a great amount of agitation among journalists, and of course the crowd, over the event, the people who remained generally unfussed were the former cricketers.

India at first thought Ian Bell was run out in a controversial incident at the stroke of tea, England v India, 2nd npower Test, Trent Bridge, 3rd day, July 31, 2011
MS Dhoni was within his rights to appeal, according to the laws © Getty Images

While in all probability the reprieve for Bell had no implication on the match - India were well and truly pulverised through the day - the real significance lay beyond the field. The way the day ended was in contrast to how it had begun. Words had been exchanged between the players yesterday after the Hot Spot failed detect an edge from VVS Laxman, even though there had been a clear sound. Stuart Broad, by his own admission had "cheekily inspected" Laxman's bat for traces of Vaseline, a substance suspected to obscure the impact; Indian and English commentators had sparred on live television; and Michael Vaughan, who is acquiring the reputation of a stirrer had posed this provocative question on Twitter: "Has Vaseline on the outside edge saved the day for Laxman???"

Vaughan later accused those who were incensed by his post of lacking in humour, but he could only be absolved of malicious intent by being credited of a dubious sense of humour. Public figures, who choose to broadcast their instant opinions and thoughts on public forums, ought to choose their words responsibly. At best, Vaughan's tweet did the job of cleverly planting the seeds of suspicion; at worst, it bluntly questioned the integrity of a cricketer with an unblemished record.

It wasn't his first gaffe on Twitter either. Minutes after the toss confusion at the World Cup final, Vaughan had sensationally accused Sangakkara of claiming the toss even after calling it wrong. Even though the audio was muffled, close inspection of television replays suggested that Sangakarra had called right.

Thirty two years ago, Gundappa Viswanath, who captained India only in two Tests, had recalled another England batsman after he had been given out. Bob Taylor, who gratefully resumed his innings, forged a match-turning seventh wicket partnership with Ian Botham. That was however a case of correcting an umpiring error.

When the England management came knocking at their door, the Indian team were entitled to turn them away. And as Rahul Dravid said later, there was not a nice feeling about it in the dressing room. They have been accused of being prima donnas and bullies, but by choosing statesmanship over gamesmanship, the Indian team has set an example worthy of emulation.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by AdnanSiddiqui on (August 2, 2011, 17:28 GMT)

Good decision - but unfortunately went against India ... Imran Khan did the same gesture against India in 1999..Srikanth was given LBW by the umpire, so there was not doubt about the decision...Srikanth didn't look happy with the decision..Imran going beyond his jurisdiction, against umpire's decision...let Srikanth return to the pitch and got his fate on the next ball. It can be viewed at this link>>​=toFIXXkpgMo

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 15:41 GMT)

@anthony james: really? So how can a batsman be out stumped if that was to be the case? How else could Jonty Rhodes run out Ganguly when he was outside his crease by a fraction of a centimetre? That rule u mentioned only applies for NO BALLS. And how do you know Belly wasnt attempting a run? From what I saw he jogged the third run and he jogged halfway of the fourth run as well before realizing he couldn't make it back and started nonchalantly walking off. Bell isn't a great sportsman either. Sydney 2011, Ashes, referring to the third umpire after hitting the leather off the ball, relaying the throw to pietersen to run elliott out, etc...

Posted by jondavies01 on (August 2, 2011, 14:16 GMT)

As an England fan I think Dhoni showed a ton of class with his decision. I think (hope, pray) that Strauss would have done the same if the circumstances were reversed. Cricket is not war and some players have adopted a "win at all costs" mentality that is making it much less enjoyable. Dhoni took a bold step in upholding the spirit of the game.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 12:19 GMT)

@Anthony James - you are wrong. The laws specifically state that the batsman can be run out even if he is not attempting a run except if it is a no ball.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2011, 4:35 GMT)

When Harbajan was given out the entire English team knew he was not out. They preferred the hat trick over play cricket in the spirit of cricket. It didnt happen to Srikanth when he was given out in his first team. Dhoni has the spirit but Strauss no.

Posted by ahweak on (August 1, 2011, 23:55 GMT)

Now that he knows that India will get walloped Dhoni is trying to earn brownie points.

Posted by Richie-O on (August 1, 2011, 21:54 GMT)

As an England fan I would like to thank MS Dhoni and the India team for their sporting action. It would have been a horrible way to get a wicket. There are more important things than win at all costs. I wish them well for the rest of the tour, they have earned my respect. Long live cricket.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 21:54 GMT)

It's funny with how the Indian fans are chastising England for beating a 'half fit' Indian team...why don't they get the picture, that for most of the match, Jonathan Trott was injured, Graeme Swann has an injured left wrist which hindered his bowling, and most importantly, arguably England's most dominant bowler in the first test, Chris Tremlett, ruled out of this match, England wasn't exactly carrying 11 fit men in the field? I guess it is easier to pluck out flimsy excuses out of thin air than accepting ground reality.

Posted by m_ilind on (August 1, 2011, 21:52 GMT)

Show sympathy towards Bell by all means, but he was out 'run out' and he should have been sporting enough to accept it.

Posted by aarmo on (August 1, 2011, 20:02 GMT)

Mr Bal - Eion Morgan never gestured for Bell to return to his crease. He was aler enough to stay in his crease till lunch was called by Asad Rauf.

Posted by hawkeye30 on (August 1, 2011, 19:30 GMT)

SL overtakes India to secure 2nd slot in the ICC ODI rankings as of today. India is history.. Australia watch out!

Posted by Master01 on (August 1, 2011, 16:48 GMT)

I love how england fans are completely unapreciative of this gesture. They would never do the same. Beating a half strength India side means nothing

Posted by Deuce03 on (August 1, 2011, 16:22 GMT)

It's ridiculous to suggest that India could lose the series because of this decision. That would only be the case were England to win by 22 runs in this match, which is clearly not going to be the case. As for the wicket providing a "lift" to India, it's clear that the team were uneasy about the dismissal from comments by Dravid afterwards - taking Bell's wicket unequivocally after tea would have given them much more of a psychological boost!

Posted by Harsha_Reddy on (August 1, 2011, 14:48 GMT)

Soap Opera!!! or Cricket !! Bell was stupid and more stupid were andy flower and strauss to go ask for reversal of dismissal and then the stupedist come in to say ok let him not talk to me of gamesmanship when the same guys andy flower asking monty not to bowl to sachin in nets ... Looks like Gully cricket in India... where elder bro or mom/dad stand behind hteir sons and make him play even if he is out 100 times ...Ridiculous ... U etiher do not appeal for such stupid Run outs or you get on

Posted by BlueNation on (August 1, 2011, 12:48 GMT)

Recall of Bell was against game and it was against spirit of game too. If a player can't wait till umpire call its against ICC code of conduct. He just can't walk from field before umpire calls for Tea.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 12:47 GMT)

All the talk about spirit of the game and sportsmanship is unnecessry.The indians and the umpires were all wrong.You can only be run out while attempting a run!The batsmen were not.Its as simple as that.

Posted by khurramsch on (August 1, 2011, 10:01 GMT)

all peopele who are comparing this with other things like lbw, edges etc this is not the same as that . coz lbw aor edges are part of daily routine with umpires fault. and 2nd those things hapen in middle of game u only get 1/2 mins for that . in this case 20 mins break help. even in this case when while leaving field umpires asked dhoni is he going to withdraw he said no so if there was next ball to bowl then it will not hapen. but hre 20 mins break helped dhoni to talk with team, managment etc.even at most said at first thts ok or not but after few mins when whole picture came in indias apeal seems right.

Posted by khurramsch on (August 1, 2011, 10:01 GMT)

ok its a good gesture by dhoni but spirit of game has overtaken rules of game. it wasnt the case where fielder colided with batsman & bastman has no mistake ,in this case bell was wrong & he did mistake. so that shouldnt b turned.about crowd, even at hom on tv 1st thought india did wrong but if u think 4/5 min with all info india was right.

Posted by aalkool on (August 1, 2011, 10:00 GMT)

You make a great point, Sambit. After all as the No.1 test team and ODI World Champions, India should set examples off the field as well. And they have! So where are all the experts and commentators who cry hoarse about India's unfair influence over the game? This is a chance for them to pipe up and show that they are capable of balanced views too.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 9:48 GMT)

It's not so much the decision alone .. as it is the context. Like it's mentioned - the decision would've been a lot easier if India were in box seat. That they chose to take the call despite the error being clearly of the batsman, and that they could've used a wicket then, was generous. More so, because Strauss or any of the former captains on air would've certainly gone the other way. ( as a matter of fact, it's doubtful if Dhoni and India would've gone to the ENG dressing room to make such a request). Also, Broad's admission regarding Laxman or Vaughan's irresponsible tweets have pretty much shown which is the side not willing to compromise on it's integrity. That being said, on the field of play ENG have played ruthless and sharp cricket and deserve to be where they are in the series.

Posted by demon_bowler on (August 1, 2011, 9:41 GMT)

What a cynical and depressing world this would be, if instead of following the dictates of our conscience, we stopped to consider what someone else would have done in our position. Dhoni chose instead to set a moral example himself, rather than follow the shabby precedents of others. For that reason, he is a real man in my book.

Posted by I.RAGHURAM on (August 1, 2011, 9:27 GMT)

Decision to recall by fielding captain is taken to reverse an umpiring error and not to reverse an error by the batsman. Here the law as broken by Bell who was naive enough not to know that he should not leave the crease before the umpire calls an 'OVER' and calls for 'TEA'. Vishwanath recalled Bob Tailor to reverse a wrong descision taken by an umpire. Howerver, this was not the case in the current situation....

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 9:17 GMT)

Hmm people are siding Dhoni as if he made this decision on his own. It was done only after Strauss and Flower requested him to.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 9:13 GMT)

And why would you reverse such a decision? What if Bell comes up to Dhoni after he nicks and tells him, hey mate, i was stupid to do that, would you let me off this once? This is absurd.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 9:09 GMT)

I find it funny that only last week Dhoni was being accused by the media after those comments from harper and was portrayed as a hard, cold man. And now, look, one "spirit of the game" decision and we believe he is an angel. Seriously?

Posted by nitiinjain on (August 1, 2011, 9:01 GMT)

Crowds Boowing certain Indian players on the cricket ground, have they forgotten England is coming to India after two months for ODI Series, maybe a tit for tat when they visit India?

Posted by shishirp on (August 1, 2011, 8:54 GMT)

Why look back in history, what about the VVS Laxman stumping dismissal in the 1st test? he wasn't running, and wasn't overbalanced either!! he was just looking to mark his guard...HOW ABOUT THAT??

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 8:32 GMT)

Dhoni did what he did as the captain of the number one team in Test cricket and the ODI World Cup holder. He has achieved what he could in his career on the field and has always played his cricket fairly. He is not an average captain of an average team who could only rely on strokes of luck for success. I salute him for being a graceful ambassador of the game. I wish Dhoni's team all the best on this tour. Win or loss, they will be remembered as the NUMBER ONE team forever!

Posted by alexbraae on (August 1, 2011, 8:00 GMT)

What a tragic sport cricket is, when a man has to choose between success and integrity as Dhoni had to. So many factors were in favour of him simply saying you're out to Bell, yet he still chose to send a message that his team was above taking wickets like that. India's governing body may ignore the spirit of cricket, but the team are truly great men.

Posted by raunakwakode81185 on (August 1, 2011, 7:33 GMT)

WELL WELL WELL!! Its seems that Dhoni has now become Hero Of Sportsmanship Spirit for the EPIC Decision for lets say 30,000 people present in the Stadium or all British team supporters. BUT what about the Angry, Hurted and Disappointed 100,00,00,00,000 INDIAN people if INDIAN CRICKET TEAM lose the series because of this so called IN THE SPIRIT decision.

Posted by Yorker_ToeCrusher on (August 1, 2011, 7:12 GMT)

I disagree with Dhoni's decision.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (August 1, 2011, 7:09 GMT)

Well done to Dhoni and the Indian team! On reflection, they could see that an act of sporting generosity was in the best interests of the game, of the series and international relations. Bell was a chump, no doubt about that - but how marvellous that Dhoni & co. turned Bell's absent-mindedness into a situation to demonstrate true sportsmanship. And now England is honour-bound to measure up to the high standard that's been set for them! Seeing the bigger picture, as ever, is always to be applauded.

Posted by Rivka on (August 1, 2011, 7:05 GMT)

Michael Holding said on tv that he doesn't buy Vaughan's defence about the comment on VVS being written in jest. Holding went on to say that when you are writing something on Twitter, it's difficult to tell whether you're being serious or sarcastic. When you're saying it in public it's a different matter. Vaughan should have more sense than to post tosh like that.

Posted by tjsimonsen on (August 1, 2011, 7:02 GMT)

India were totally out batted by England ALL DAY! As a matter of fact, things could have been much worse for India had Prior had more time to hammer an inexperienced and ineffective attack.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (August 1, 2011, 5:56 GMT)

The umpires job on the field along with the match refree is to uphold the laws of cricket and the spirit of the game on the field. Bell was given OUT. Players have no power to collude and overturn a decision made by the umpires. Overturning a decision in collusion is the worst form of disrespect that can be shown to the umpires. This is worse than dissent. Strauss and Dhoni and Bell need to be punished for it. The 2 onfield umpires as well as the match refree need to be pulled up by the ICC for letting the players usurp their role and for being mute about it.

The Enlgish captain and coach had no business knocking on the Indian dressing room door to have a "backroom arrangement". They deserve a ban from cricket for a period, for bringing the game into disrepute!

Posted by Bhishma on (August 1, 2011, 5:09 GMT)

It is surprising to see Dhoni is getting all words of appreciation - when he had clearly said "NO" on field to the question of umpires. It doesn't take much effort to see the general mood of the team in the dressing room and the wisdom of seniors made him to reverse the decision.

By far, he is the luckiest captain India has ever got!!!

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (August 1, 2011, 4:59 GMT)

I applaud Dhoni's sportsmanship, although I do think Bell was out based on the evidence I've seen, its a very grey area though as to when the ball is considered dead. However, the game had already started to slip from india's grasp during an afternoon session, that had yielded 130 runs.

Posted by Vineet20011 on (August 1, 2011, 4:56 GMT)

And what about Ian Bell and England team sir? Didn't they break the laws of the game by not sportingly accepting the out decision? Haven't the England team broken the law by getting the dismissal reversed and thus hurting the Spirit of Cricket? Bell and England did not uphold the laws of cricket and thus breached the 'Spirit of Cricket.'

Posted by Maui3 on (August 1, 2011, 4:54 GMT)

It funny Vishwanath is mentioned here. As a 14 year old kids, I thought it was naive and a ridiculous move by Vishwanath to recall taylor and end up losing the match. 32 years later, being a father to 2 young kids and trying to provide the right guidance to them, I think of Vishwanath as a role model for the kids to emulate. Played the game in the right spirit and yet was very competitive. Did it hurt that India lost that match to england in 1979 to the brilliance of Botham? Would it hurt that India would probably lose the #1 ranking to England soon? Yes absolutely. Would I like to see this Indian team behave like the Aussies did at Sydney in 2007 to win at any cost? No way, I would be very embarassed for my team.

Posted by randika_ayya on (August 1, 2011, 4:52 GMT)

Shasthri and Gavaskar belonged to an earlier era in Indian cricket and clearly lacks the diplomatic bones that the current era cricketers have been forced to grow due to increased public scrutiny due to TV exposure. So they would do well to learn a thing or two from modern players before making a mockery out of themselves and their country on live TV

Posted by RajitD on (August 1, 2011, 4:49 GMT)

Its high time that the amorphous "spirit of cricket" is defined into something more tangible. Bumped catches claimed, LBW appeals for inside edges, standing your ground when you've nicked it, intimidating umpires and many more such instances dont seem to qualify but one run out - which was out by the way, has everyone up in arms? What logic is that!

Posted by K.A.K on (August 1, 2011, 4:46 GMT)

Indian team won today, no matter what the result of the game comes out to be. Bell/English team should thank Dhoni and the team publicly for gesture.

Posted by ankukam on (August 1, 2011, 4:00 GMT)

@Strategic_blunder - I totall agree with what you say. I feel he did it mainly to avoid getting more bad press to the Indian team which is already seen under such a negative light.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 4:00 GMT)

Many Captains have recalled batsmen. As you wrote Vishwanath did, Imran Khan once recalled Shrikanth. Even Andrew Strauss recalled Mathews in Champions trophy.And all these were noble gesture upholding the spirit of this noblest of games.

Posted by vj3478 on (August 1, 2011, 3:51 GMT)

Well, I feel Dhoni's generosity might simple cost us the game, may be the series and the #1 ranking. But Bell definitely did not deserved to be recalled. Strauss would have simply declined if he were in Dhoni's position.Such is their history. Hopefully, at least now they learn what 'spirit of the game' is which definitely is not foul mouthing/doing what ever to win the game and say 'we did not the cross the line as per the law'. The decision by Dhoni is a slap in the face of all who talk a lot abt 'spirit of the game'in front of media but never follow on ground - also to all who call this Indian team a bully. Nevertheless, Dhoni showed us the way and hopefully it will set an example....India doesnt stand a chance to win the game. Only hope is they will not draw this game is equal to win

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 3:40 GMT)

I don't agree with the decision. I haven't seen the event on TV so don't know exactly how Bell left his crease. From what I gather from his press conference he agreed that he was stupid (and also that Morgan was shouting at him to get back). Anyways, let us consider this: if the throw would not have been collected or over thrown would the batsmen have been correct (as per the spirit of cricket) to run extra run? Let us extend this further: if the ball was thrown wildly, and had gine for 4 over throws, would Flower and Strauss have gone to the umpire and said please deduct those runs?? This is not street cricket but test cricket and NOT fOLLOWING simple rules should result in you reflecting upon your stupidity from the confines of a dressing room!!! Sorry, Sambit, I don't agree with your interpretation of spirit of cricket...

Posted by pradeep_dealwis on (August 1, 2011, 3:07 GMT)

if only the BCCI could be as classy as MS Dhoni!

Posted by Sininsh on (August 1, 2011, 3:00 GMT)

Very well composed article. It was great reading it. Thank you Mr. Author.

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (August 1, 2011, 2:54 GMT)

Dhoni is there to win the game, not win friends. It is the sportsman's job to win for the country. Leave friendship building to the politicians. Dhoni has made a poor decision. He will cost India the game and rankings.

Posted by sandson on (August 1, 2011, 2:36 GMT)

I think the only 'Spirit of the game' today refers to the barrels Mallaya keeps.. I think the only 'Spirit of the game' today refers to the barrels Mallaya keeps..

Posted by Rowayton on (August 1, 2011, 2:29 GMT)

I agree that Dhoni may have done the right thing. However, the umpires were right - Bell was out. I saw something similar in a club game I played in in Australia many years ago - the batsman acknowledged the sportsmanship of the fielding side, resumed his innings, and then got himself out. Asked about it later, he said to me, "Well it was my stupidity - no way I deserved to get more runs'. No matter who was being sportsmanlike, I'm glad Bell didn't get too many more.

Posted by 801mlh on (August 1, 2011, 2:16 GMT)

Couldn't Bell and the rest of the England dressing room realise and admit that Bell was wrong and simply decline Dhoni's decision to recall Bell.In the end both teams would come out looking good and most importantly Bell shouldnt be rewarded for being daft,he was wrong and India were well within their right.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 1:50 GMT)

Dhoni made the right decision and should be applauded, Bell was foolish but he was going on the reaction of the Indian fielders. If this had stood it would open the door to calls of simulation by the fielding side (which would be unfair as I think most of the fielders also believed it was tea and it was a genuine misunderstanding). Also you give an example of a recall 32 years ago but failed to mention a much more recent example of England calling a batsman back. England learned their lesson from the poor showing against New Zealand and called Angelo Matthews back in 2009, this really should have been mentioned in the article. Also implying that VVS could have Vaseline on his bat is unhelpful at best and Broad and Vaughan should both know better.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 1:28 GMT)

I disagree with the decision of the Indian team and Dhoni in calling Bell back!

Posted by strategic_blunder on (August 1, 2011, 0:57 GMT)

Dhoni chooses grace over gamesmanship, but over loss of a match and possible series (and the trivial spot in the rankings). I disagree completely that it would have been against the spirit of the game if Dhoni would have refused Bell's appeal reconsideration. On the contrary, it would have provided spark to the sagging Indian team and consequently the series more meaning....1) Lets look at the decision making process of Dhoni for the reversal. As I mentioned, it wasnt for the spirit of the game but more so an altruistic act for English decision to play in India despite the Mumbai terror attacks. Muddled logic I'd say, as those circumstances were beyond either team, this whereas was due to an individual's lack of judgement....2) The last time when the Spirit was in question in Sydney, it was REALLY in question due to childlike decision-making from the opposite captain....3) The absymal bowling was due to the psychological disadvantage, things wouldve been different otherwise.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2011, 0:39 GMT)

Lol, would you have felt the same way if the show was on the other foot. Regards txhe on air spat between Shastri and Hussein, Shastri acted like a bully.

Posted by spinkingKK on (August 1, 2011, 0:13 GMT)

It is very intersting to know that Vishwanath recalled a batsman to correct an umpiring error and in the process gifted the match to England. It shows how foolish the great players can be when they are made captians.

Posted by Maui3 on (August 1, 2011, 0:11 GMT)

Truly a fantastic gesture by the Indian team. With #1 ranking in line, the Bell run out could have potentially been a game changer at that stage of the game. Too bad Bell didn't one word of acknowledgement about Dhoni's and Indian teams graciousness. This Indian team has given a lot oj joy to a lot of Indian fans with their play on the field on their way to being the #1 team. But today they showed the Pontings and Symonds how to show class under pressure and set a moral standard (even though that may not be the intention) for others to follow.

Posted by spinkingKK on (August 1, 2011, 0:03 GMT)

Dhoni is doing justice to the sportsmanship and is definitely giving respect to the overseas players. I appreciate his gesture. However, I sincerely hope that Dravid comes back to the captaincy, so that all the Indian players, regardless of where they are coming from, gets the same resepct and have the equal opportunity to shine in the team.

Posted by   on (July 31, 2011, 23:15 GMT)

Ian Bell has played some of his best innings against India. There is no doubt that Bell's wicket is very pricey and costs a lot to India, which we experienced in this innings as well. Still Despite of been served with his wicket, returning the priced won, on understanding where the true spirits of the game confines in; the decision was remarkable on the moral and ethical grounds, which are expected to be met, but not for every1 to maintain. Many things go wrong in the field, but when its in ones favor, one doesnt complain. But if that one is MS Dhoni, he would simply says ' No thank you'.

Posted by zico123 on (July 31, 2011, 22:49 GMT)

putting England in Dhoni's shoes, they would not have recalled an opposition batsman, just as they didn't do earlier against NZ in an ODI match, GREAT statesmanship Dhoni and India.

Posted by NRI- on (July 31, 2011, 22:48 GMT)

Well done, Dhoni...well done. Dhoni has batted poorly, captained badly but this is really really good. Even if he loses 4-0, he can hold his head high.

Posted by AjaySridharan on (July 31, 2011, 22:27 GMT)

You don't do the right thing with an expectation of reciprocity. You just do it. India will do well to remember that...else they'll walk out of this series feeling victimized. Nature has it's strange way of putting you in a position of judgement...and I doubt if England will not appeal for an lbw when they know there was an inside edge...and it could happen when Sachin is on the crease

Posted by landl47 on (July 31, 2011, 22:11 GMT)

Mistakes which occur during the normal course of play are accepted by the players as inevitable. People are given out caught when they haven't hit the ball and not out when they have (though less so now there is Hotspot). Matters like that are left in the hands of the umpires and the players accept the decision even when they don't agree with it. This was slightly different; a mistake occurring not in the normal course of play but because a player was under a misapprehension of what the circumstances were. Bell would not have been in any danger had he not misunderstood the situation. Thanks and congratulations to the Indian team for their sportsmanship. Incidentally, I believe Collingwood was wrong in the Elliot case and later he admitted that it was a poor decision on his part. The 'vaseline' stuff is nonsense, unless every batsman who gets a let-off by Hotspot is in on it. The technology just isn't completely foolproof yet, though it does lead to many more correct decisions.

Posted by Hurricane08 on (July 31, 2011, 22:10 GMT)

Looking at this incident, on ex-player who most likely will be fuming is Inzammam-ul-Haq of Pakistan. The number of times he got out under bizzare circumstances during his test career is unprecedented. But all those circumstances were his error of judgement, as was the case with Bell today. If a keeper thinks the ball slipped through his gloves and starts looking at the fence only to realize that it is right under his feet - is the ensuing run out controversial? Could the batsman not say that he ran because the keeper's body language indicated that he had missed the collection? This was clearly an error on Bell's part and he should have been duly penalized.

Posted by Rezaul on (July 31, 2011, 21:58 GMT)

England is playing brilliantly without any doubt. However, I would say Dhoni put an example by allowing Bell to bat again after he was run out which was purely based on cricketing rules. I have reasonable doubt whether Strauss would have done that!! I remember one occasion when Brian Lara was batting very confidently and thrashing English bowlers all corners of the ground. Once, Lara played a normal defensive stroke and ball came back to the keeper Alec Stewart via the fielder. Lara was just stroking the ground with his bat and fixing some of the uneven turf. Stewart waited for Lara to step out of his crease while he was padding the turf. As soon as Lara's boot crossed the line Stewart took the bails off and appealed for run out. Eventually umpires declared Lara Run Out. That was clearly against the spirit of the game. And the then English captain Stewart did that intentionally.

Posted by Ellis on (July 31, 2011, 21:57 GMT)

Shane Warne evoking the Spirit of Cricket smacks of poacher turned gamekeeper. His harrassment of umpires with his appeals, and his sledging of batsmen, were certainly not in line with that spirit.Neither of the other captains in the commentary team were simon pure either. There is a lot of hypocrisy and doublespeak about the spirit of cricket. Swearing and sledging are not part of that spirit. Neither is Broad's sneaky peek at Laxman's bat.Broad must have known that Harbhajan edged the ball. Why did he not withdraw the appeal? Bell was out and should have remained that way. The appeal was within the laws of the game and it is hardly the first time a batsman has been run out for wandering out of his crease. Too much pious nonsense from opportunists.

Posted by athardik on (July 31, 2011, 21:48 GMT)

I for one actually think Dhoni got it wrong and should not have called Ian Bell back again. I think that while the Spirit of the Game is important and morally Dhoni did the right thing, I think that the opponents should also be worthy of the gesture. I say that for a number of reasons - 1) the example of Paul Collingwood that the article refers to 2) Andrew Strauss refusing a runner for Graeme Smith when he was within the rules to ask for a runner 3) the crowd booing the Indian Team and 4) questioning the integrity of a man like VVS who has never ever been involved in any incident EVER. Whatever the humor quotient was, Broad certainly didnt think there was humor and checked the bat.

Posted by   on (July 31, 2011, 21:34 GMT)

Please say something about this Captain and his team.. no matter how much u hate him, they make us love them day by day...

Posted by Rightie on (July 31, 2011, 21:30 GMT)

As usual, too much hype has been made about Dhoni and his leadership qualities. If he is such a COOL and a QUICK-THINKING CAPTIAN as it is claimed, WHY DID HE REMOVE THE BAILS IN THE FIRST PLACE, AND STICK TO HIS GUN EVEN WHEN HE WAS CLEAR ABOUT THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH LEAD TO THIS CONFUSION? It was only after Strauss, Bell, and the umpires visited the Indian Dressing Room that he said he would consult his team-members. In my humble opinion, it was Dravid, Laxman & Tendulkar who would have strongly advocated withdrdawing the appeal, and so Dhoni relented. The media should start giving the credit to the team when decisions are made in the dressing room and not instantly on the field

Posted by   on (July 31, 2011, 21:26 GMT)

I do not understand why the umpires asked Dhoni to reconsider the appeal. Do they have the right to do that? I do not think there was any violation of spirit of game. It was a fair dismissal.

Posted by   on (July 31, 2011, 21:21 GMT)

Nice article, but I have a few questions.

As an Indian, I am proud of Dhoni. But did he do it only out of statesmanship, or also out of the sheer pressure created by the (unfair) booing of the crowd and to save Team India's fast diminishing reputation in this match (if not the series)?

Also, shouldn't we be asking more questions of Ian Bell and the English Team? Were Flower and Strauss justified in asking Dhoni to recall his appeal? Shouldn't Ian Bell, despite India's gesture, have graciously accepted that he was out? (After all, England were the hosts, had already been pulled out of dire straits and Bell was well past his century!!)

And finally, shouldn't we be harsher in our criticism of people like Michael Vaughan? As a former captain and someone knowledgeable of the game, how could he (even jokingly) pass such a comment on a someone who is several notches ahead of him as a cricketer?

Posted by   on (July 31, 2011, 21:20 GMT)

"Dhoni has set an example worthy of emulation"

Really? I guess form now on all captains should start exhibiting disgraceful sportsmanship on the field, stick by their decision even after being booed by the whole gallery and only change the decision after other people got involved in the dressing room and the coach of the opposing team had to come to your dressing room to request that you show a little bit of honour Yayy for Dhoni and cricket.

Posted by Roger_Allott on (July 31, 2011, 21:08 GMT)

There was an even better example of Indian appreciation of the spirit of cricket today than the already legendary activities of the tea interval.

On day 2 of this match, Dravid scored a superb century - flawless, under pressure and with wickets tumbling at the other end on a very tricky pitch. Yet the England players did not applaud him when he reached the milestone - that was unsporting behaviour in my book.

So how did the Indians react? They said absolutely nothing - publicly at least - until Bell was finally out after an equally flawless 159 (although in conditions much better for batting) when all the Indian players (led by Dravid) made a point of personally congratulating him.

That was a little bit of silent "anti-unsportsmanship" that seems to have been overlooked by the match reports thus far.

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Sambit Bal Editor-in-chief Sambit Bal took to journalism at the age of 19 after realising that he wasn't fit for anything else, and to cricket journalism 14 years later when it dawned on him that it provided the perfect excuse to watch cricket in the office. Among other things he has bowled legspin, occasionally landing the ball in front of the batsman; laid out the comics page of a newspaper; covered crime, urban development and politics; and edited Gentleman, a monthly features magazine. He joined Wisden in 2001 and edited Wisden Asia Cricket and Cricinfo Magazine. He still spends his spare time watching cricket.

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