Breaking! Dhoni explains 'motive' behind slow over-rate leading to his one-Test ban

MS Dhoni © AFP


By Madan Mohan


Barely had India recovered from the jolt of yet another innings defeat, came the news that Mahendra Singh Dhoni had been handed a one-match ban for his second slow over-rate offence in 12 months. 


The news was greeted with a huge sigh of relief. Nevertheless, observers are stunned to know Dhoni fell behind the over-rate even in a five-day Test that barely lasted for more than two days! 


We caught up with Dhoni who was kind enough to share with us the secret of his masterstroke.  


Cricketcountry (CC):  MS, thanks for taking time to talk to us. 


MS Dhoni (MSD):  Cool. I have to give the same answers only after every match, you know.   We need to bat better, bowl better… 


CC:  Sorry to interrupt you, MS, but we wanted to talk to you about your one-match ban. 


MSD: (laughs) Oh, that!


CC:  You are amused!


MSD:  Yaar, it was all part of the plan.


CC:  Could you tell us more about the plan?


MSD: Sure! In Melbourne and Sydney, the match got over in four days. But in Perth, after Day One, it seemed at one stage the Test would get over on Day Two.


CC: Hmm…


MSD: So I got a call from Jason saying he would have nothing to do on the weekend then.  He said even Australian Open starts only on Monday. Jason is a good friend of mine, so I decided to help him out and I told my boys to take it cool and take their own time to get through the overs.


CC: So, was selecting Vinay Kumar also a part of your master plan?


MSD: (Big smile) Definitely! I have told Ashwin never to hurry through with his overs, but he doesn’t listen. I even asked him if he could bowl with a longer run-up.


CC:  And…


MSD: He didn’t agree, so we selected Vinay to bowl off-spin from a long run-up. No change in the combination at all.  


CC: But MS, don’t you think you made a costly sacrifice for the sake of Jason? I mean, Team India will now be without your services for one Test. 


MSD:  See, it’s like this. We take Wridhiman (Saha) on all these tours, but he doesn’t get to play. And once he travels to Australia or England, he can’t play Ranji Trophy as well, right?  So I was concerned that he might forget ‘keeping in the bargain.


CC:  Hmm… 


MSD:  So I suggested to the management that I will drop myself for the Adelaide Test.


CC:  What!


MSD:  Arrey, don’t get so excited, even Mike Denness did that as England’s captain on a tour of Australia. But our team management’s reaction was exactly like yours. So I said the only way out is to make it impossible to select me!


CC: Wow!


MSD: See! I made everybody happy. Jason is happy, Cricket Australia is happy and Wridhiman is happy. In modern cricket, we have multiple partners and we have to look after everyone’s interests. And between you and me, I got myself a much-needed break from cricket which the BCCI was not willing to give by making me play all the matches in their crowded schedule.


CC:  So, you got the match extended so that we in India would also have something to watch on the weekend?


MSD: Definitely!


Well, we are simply lost for words. We never thought so many considerations were behind Dhoni’s ban. All we can say is: Dhoni da jawaab nahi!


(Madan Mohan is a 26 year old chartered accountant from Mumbai. The writing bug bit him when he was 8 and to date, he has not been cured of it.  He loves music, cricket, tennis and cinema and writing on cricket is like the icing on the cake.  He also writes a blog if he is not feeling too lazy at )