India vs. England: Dhoni averts another '-gate' at Trent Bridge
After a heated exchange between Nasser Hussain and Ravi Shastri over the use of DRS in this series, another controversy was averted due to the wisdom of India’s team management. Ian Bell was adjudged run-out just before tea as he tried to sneak a 4th run but withdrew the intention without backtracking into his crease. He continued to walk towards his partner on the other end expecting that the over had been called off. Meanwhile, Abhinav Mukund removed the bails and a mild appeal was made from the Indian side. There was a clear suspicion over Bell’s intentions and thus the umpires were asked for a decision. The two umpires consulted the third umpire before adjudging Bell run out.
In the context of the recent heated exchanges between eminent critics of the game from both sides, this controversial decision could have made matters much worse. It is a long tour for India and a hostile crowd is the last thing they wish for. MS Dhoni along with the team management withdrew the appeal during tea-time on the request of the umpires and English team management. The decision was lauded as one that upheld the “spirit of the game” but it is likely to cost India in the context of this game.
At this very venue in 2007, Zaheer Khan took inspiration from an unusual controversial moment in the match that involved jellybeans. This moment certainly evoked some memories of that unfortunate incident but it is likely that the result would be reversed this time.
Interestingly, the war of words has been actively pursued off the field more than on the pitch. Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar were uninhibited in their remarks to Michael Vaughan’s accusation made on Twitter convicting VVS Laxman. The umpires had ruled in favour of Laxman in a 50-50 caught behind decision that was reviewed by the English team. Gavaskar said that Laxman’s record speaks of his integrity as a cricketer and he had all the reason to sue Vaughan for defamation. Shastri who was seated beside him was in full agreement.
Shastri who is known for not mincing his words responded fiercely to Nasser Hussain’s “disgrace” comment. Nasser had said that not using the DRS was a “disgrace” and the Indian Board had made an error by declining its use. Shastri said, “they are jealous about where India is in World Cricket, they are jealous about the fact that India are world champions, they are jealous because of the too much money being made by BCCI, bottom-line is that they have never been bloody number 1 in the world in Test cricket.”
Incidentally, if England win the Test at Trent Bridge they would have an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the series which might be enough to place them on top of Test Cricket rankings.