Nottingham: Jul 31, 2011
Indian cricket team on Sunday averted a big controversy when skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni showed a spirited gesture of withdrawing his run out appeal against England Ian Bell, who under the rules could have been given out at the stroke of tea in the second Test match.
The bizarre incident happened in the last over of second session and added spice to the Test match which is already moving towards an exciting finish.
Eoin Morgan flicked one off Ishant Sharma towards deep square leg, where his pace colleague Praveen Kumar made a good save and threw the ball back to keeper Dhoni.
In between, the two batsmen thought it is a boundary and by the time the ball came back, Bell left his crease and was jogging carelessly, thinking it's end of the session but Dhoni took the bails off and appealed.
Confusion prevailed when the umpires upheld the appeal and Bell was declared out.
The English crowd was left astonished as Bell was batting well at 137, steering the hosts to a strong position.
The hugely disappointed crowd greeted the Indian players with boos when they returned to field for the last session but when they saw Bell coming back to field they started cheering the visiting side. There was a thunderous applause and the chants of cheat.. cheat died down.
During the break, Dhoni took a precedent-setting decision as they were well within their rights to claim the wicket but preferred to recall the batsman.
The commentators, who are former cricketers, showered plaudits on the Indian side for the gesture.
"It's always India who is expected to do the sporting thing," remarked former Indian great Sunil Gavaskar.
"That's real class from Dhoni to do what it is. it's real classy by India," said David Lloyd, former England cricketer.
Ravi Shastri was critical of crowd reaction.
"MS Dhoni must have done something special. He has withdrawn the appeal. We are playing within the rules. Where has the spirit of cricket gone," he said.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly said umpires can't reverse the decision on their own and it was only Dhoni whose decision mattered.
"It is upto Dhoni (whether to withdraw his appeal or not). The umpires need not go back to Dhoni, need not go back to Strauss," Ganguly said.
Explaining what transpired during the break, Llyod later while commentating said that, "England skipper Andrew Strauss knocked the Indian dressing room if they were willing to withdraw the appeal? Dhoni then consulted his teammates and agreed to withdraw the run out appeal."
England were 254 for three at that time.
Bell was finally out after adding 22 more runs to his total when Yuvraj Singh had him caught in the slip region by VVS Laxman.