Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
India's ODI captain MS Dhoni and the debutant Bangladesh fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman have been fined for their collision during the first ODI in Mirpur. Dhoni has been docked 75% of his match fee, and the Man of the Match Mustafizur lost 50% of his.
The incident occurred in the 25th over of India's innings when Dhoni set off on a single after playing the ball to mid-off. Mustafizur, a left-arm bowler operating from over the wicket, appeared to have glanced at the batsman and then moved towards the path Dhoni was running. Dhoni ran into Mustafizur during the run, and appeared to shove him out of his way with his forearm. Mustafizur left the field for a bit before returning to complete a five-for on debut.
Earlier in the innings Mustafizur was involved in a similar incident with India opener Rohit Sharma, but that collision was softer though Rohit was later seen pointing his finger at the bowler.
ESPNcricinfo has learnt that that only Dhoni had been charged initially, but India decided to contest the charge. Dhoni claimed that he tried his best to avoid the collision, shifting the bat to his right hand while he had been holding it in both hands earlier, and moving his head away as he approached Mustafizur. However, he couldn't avoid the contact with his left arm. India also claimed that there was no space on the right with Suresh Raina, the non-striker, running close, and they also brought up the Rohit incident in their defence. Replays were seen repeatedly in the hearing.
Mustafizur was eventually called up, but he too pleaded not guilty to the charge, but the ICC eventually found them both to be in breach of Article 2.2.4 of the ICC Code of Conduct, which relates to "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play during an international match".
In the eventual ruling by match referee Andy Pycroft, Dhoni's experience went against him. "In the hearing, Dhoni defended the charge on the basis that the bowler was on the wrong line and realising that he couldn't avoid the collision, he used his hand and arm to push him away as he went through to 'minimise the impact,'" Pycroft said. "However, my assessment was that Dhoni deliberately pushed and shouldered Mustafizur, which was inappropriate.
"Even if there was a narrow gap between the runner [Raina] and the bowler, an experienced Dhoni should have tried to avoid the collision as cricket is a non-contact sport and the players are expected to avoid physical contact at all times. On this basis, I fined Dhoni 75% of his match fee".
Mustafizur admitted his guilt when faced with video evidence of the incident. "Mustafizur was fined 50% of his match fee after he admitted that his actions in not getting out of the batsman's way were inappropriate and he should have done more to avoid the contact," Pycroft said.