Man of the Match award to MS Dhoni stirs controversy

MS Dhoni in action during the third and final ODI against Pakistan in New Delhi on Sunday © PTI

New Delhi: Jan 8, 2012

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the Man of the Match award in the third and final One-Day International against Pakistan not because of his performance in the game, but to boost his morale at a time when his side is struggling.

According to the Times of India, Dhoni, who scored 36 off 54 balls and was not up to the mark with his wicketkeeping, was awarded the Man of the Match ahead of players from both the sides who many believe, did well.

Dhoni had also given a lifeline to his Pakistan counterpart Misbah-ul-Haq, dropping a catch off Ravindra Jadeja.

Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal bagged five wickets in the game to help his side bundle out India for a paltry 167, while the second strong contender being Jadeja, who scored a crucial 27 in the low-scoring game, bagged the key wicket of Umar Akmal and also took a catch in the deep along with being impressive in the field. 

Also, India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who jolted Pakistan early on in their chase, bagging two wickets, was also a contender.

The sources informed that the Indian captain was not among the frontrunners for the award, but got it at the last time.

The winner is chosen by a jury of commentators, and there was a unanimous choice of Dhoni being named for the award.

However, a former cricketer – who voted in Dhoni’s favour – informed that the award was given to boost his morale at a time when Team India is struggling.

The sources also revealed that Pakistan has unofficially complained to the commentators for not naming Nasir Jamshed for the Man of the Match award in the first ODI at Chennai.

Jamshed slammed a century to help Pakistan chase 229 set by India, but the award was given to Dhoni, who had scored a fighting ton to lift India to a competitive total.