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MS Dhoni: I did the right thing to support Ravindra Jadeja

MS Dhoni © Getty images
MS Dhoni © Getty images

By Chetan Narula

Manchester: Aug 6, 2014

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday came out fighting once again in the James Anderson-Ravindra Jadeja case, firmly stating that he stands by what he said during the whole saga and that they brought forward “something that was unacceptable”. Ahead of the fourth Test versus England, starting at Manchester on Thursday, all the talk continued to be about the incident that has marred the five-match series.

Both Anderson and Jadeja were pronounced non-guilty by the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) judicial commission last Friday and the game’s world governing body has decided not to appeal against the verdict despite a request from Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI). “I did something that was right and I stand for what’s right and what’s wrong,” said Dhoni, referring to his support for the all-rounder.

“If something wrong is happening, I will go against it irrespective of who is doing it. If one of my players gets fined and if he’s within the boundary lines, I will definitely go and defend him. But if he crosses that line, I won’t come and he will go alone and face the consequences.” When asked if the ICC verdict was personal humiliation for him since he was so vocal about the issue, Dhoni denied the same and said, “It was physical contact that we reported about. We never said anything about sledging. Quite a few harsh words were spoken but we didn’t report that.”

“What is more important is that we brought forward something that we thought was unacceptable. What happens beyond that, it is not in my jurisdiction to punish or award penalties. We thought this incident was bad for the game so we brought it forward. It’s up to the ICC and others to see what needs to be done,” he added.

Talking specifically about the verdict given out, the Indian skipper said, “In our society we have something called evidence and something called lack of evidence. So the verdict is mostly on those lines and it is time for us to move ahead. What is however very interesting is that Jadeja was fined and as I said (previously) there’s not even one percent mistake committed from his side. So it is good for us that allegations against him were dropped based on the evidence available. However it is really interesting what David Boon saw/found out on the basis of which he fined 50 percent of Jadeja’s match fees,” he further added.

The intricacies of the matter will be debated long after the series is over however. But as far as Dhoni is concerned, this wasn’t personal agenda against Anderson and only that the ‘Spirit of the Game’ needs to be kept up. “Anderson is a terrific bowler. He works out the batsmen and is an aggressive bowler, and that’s the kind of bowler the crowd wants to watch. But I wouldn’t want to make a comment on whether he needs to change because strong characters are needed in the game. And it doesn’t matter whether it is him or a player from any other side, it can be someone from my side, the umpires need to step in when the individual crosses the line. What matters is that they stay within the guidelines and that’s important for the game and spectators,” said Dhoni.

With the series intriguingly poised at 1-1, and two matches to go, all this talk about the Jadeja-Anderson issue leaves strong undertones as to what lies ahead if there is yet another altercation on the field. “There is no need to control Anderson (or any other player) really. A player only needs to be controlled if something wrong is happening. You don’t want everyone to play the same way because individuals bring character to the side. It’s because of the 18-19 players that character of the side is made. Everybody is different in their own way. But there are certain guidelines that need to be followed and as long as they are following that it is okay,” said the Indian skipper.

India will be looking to turn around their fortunes after a heavy 266-run loss at Southampton which was England’s first Test win in 11 matches. It undid all the good work done by the team in the second Test at Lord’s where they won by 95 runs. Taking 20 wickets is very important to win Test matches but we cannot forget that it is important to score runs as well. If you get 500-550 runs on the board, the opposition batsmen will be under pressure unless they bat well for 2-3 sessions continuously.

“We dropped a few catches in the last match and it didn’t look like we will take 20 wickets on that pitch. So we will see how the wicket (at Old Trafford) is and then we will see who our best 4-5 bowlers are and then we will decide the team composition,” he said.

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