Former International Cricket Council (ICC) umpire Daryl Harper believes that Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a “serial offender” in terms of ignoring the spirit of cricket.
Harper opines that Australia captain Michael Clarke is among the many cricketers who play the game in true spirit.
“In recent times, only one national captain has been guilty of ignoring the Spirit of cricket…and MS Dhoni is a repeat offender”, Harper told The Lahore Times.
The former Australian umpire also expressed his views on the incident which took place on the first ball of India’s first innings in the Mohali Test, where the ball slipped out of Mitchell Starc’s hand and went on to hit the non-striker’s wickets, and Shikhar Dhawan was out of the crease.
None of the Australian cricketers appealed for the wicket and even Dhawan laughed it off, looking towards the Indian dressing room.
Talking about the incidence, Harper said, “A batsman can retire at any time of the game, but Dhawan would have been guilty of not knowing the Laws of the game if he had walked from the field of his own accord. Quite clearly, the ball was accidentally dropped from the bowler’s hand. The ball immediately became ‘dead’ so if Dhawan had walked off, his action would have been totally bizarre.”
“Australian players may not have appealed because they were aware of the Laws of cricket. If the bowler accidentally drops the ball in his run up, the umpire should call and signal dead ball immediately,” he added.
“The fact that Dhawan had already taken an unfair advantage by leaving his crease before the bowler had released the ball, did not matter at all in this instance. The ball was dropped accidentally so nothing else that happens after that matters,” Harper stated.
Explaining Australia’s tradition of playing tough cricket and keeping things fair, Harper said, “It is part of the culture of Australian cricket to play the game hard and to try to win, but it is frowned upon to take an unfair advantage over anyone. Advantages must be hard-earned and generally the result of skill but occasionally good fortune.”
“If this situation had been incorrectly adjudicated, there is no way that the Australian team would have pursued an appeal for a Mankad. It is just not cricket. I am confident that Michael Clarke would not have taken advantage in such a situation.”
“In my experience, Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori, Darren Sammy, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Graeme Smith are other captains who would not have played outside the spirit of the game. None of the above group would have initially allowed Ian Bell to have been ruled as run out at Trent Bridge in 2011, before a team meeting and discussion during the tea interval later determined to withdraw the appeal. None of the same group would have allowed Johnny Bairstow to have been given out caught by Gautam Gambhir in Mumbai in 2012 after it was confirmed that the ball had deflected from the fielder’s helmet,” he said.
First Published: March 18, 2013, 9:38 am