The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a hotspot for cricket aficionados worldwide. Occasionally and ostensibly, it has been the window to multiple controversies since its beginning in 2008. So, in a nutshell, it has carried a mixed bag of ingredients – with the sheer paramount of importance.
In India, cricket solely has become more lucrative than it has had ever been thanks to the world’s one of the professional domestic premier Twenty20 leagues like IPL.
The staggering broadcasting and digital rights followed by high-profile cricketers have boosted the entire trillion-dollar marketing landscape of India – post the 2007 ICC Twenty20 World Cup.
Well, in sports, there have been agonising scenes – from football to cricket and tennis to the golf. The undying passion has lifted the game of struggling athletes symbolically over the decades.
And then, there have been bizarre visuals which recently saw arguably the best former Team India skipper and celebrated cricketer MS Dhoni telling off the on-field umpires following a reversed no-ball.
The bickering subsequently snowballed into a controversy at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur.
All knew that Dhoni had opted for a wrong precedent – far in the northern belt of the country.
It was more about anger, action and adventure in the money-spinning league.
So far, the multi-billion dollar IPL’s adventure has been marred by umpiring howlers. But in the same breath – the guardians of the game are bound to maintain the discipline and uprightness at any cost.
Considering it as larger than life, the IPL is the world’s coveted television product. It promptly serves as a staple for professionals beyond borders.
Coming to the fundamental principles, it has been side-splitting on the larger scale while seeing a rare brain snap of Dhoni, who stormed the field to confront the umpires.
The incident shook the cricketing world when Royals’ bowler Ben Stokes bowled a waist-high full-toss to batsman Mitchell Santner.
The straight umpire Ulhas Gandhe half-heartedly stuck out his right hand to signal a no-ball before square leg umpire Bruce Oxenford decided against the unprecedented act.
But this irked Dhoni at the dugout, who shouted and gestured from the boundary ropes when exasperated Ravindra Jadeja had a couple of words with an umpire at the non-striker’s end.
“He gave a no-ball!,” visibly angry Dhoni said while pointing the finger at Gandhe.
In the post-match press conference, CSK head coach Stephen Fleming has backed his ward following an altercation with the on-field umpires over a contentious no-ball.
“MS [Dhoni] was after some clarity, and it didn’t seem to be coming. So, he took the opportunity to go out in there and discuss it with the umpires. Our understanding was that the umpire [Gandhe] at the bowler’s end had called the no-ball and then there was confusion around whether it was a no-ball or not,” Fleming told reporters in Jaipur.
“It’ll be something he will be questioned about for sure, for a long time,” he added.
Following CSK’s victory by four wickets courtesy a final-ball six by southpaw and New Zealand recruit Santner, former Team India opening batsman Virender Sehwag seemed a bit miffed with the decision.
“I feel Dhoni was let off easy and should have been banned for at least two or three games. Because, if he did this, tomorrow another captain can do the same. Then what is the value of an umpire?,” Sehwag, said on a Cricbuzz show after Dhoni was docked half of the match fee.
And this was not for the first time that an umpiring goof up has sparked Dhoni’s temper. He was involved in a similar sort of incident during the tri-nation series in Australia some seven years back.
What actually transpired in 2012 was totally a different scenario on the bowling of Suresh Raina when Mike Hussey was called back to bat again after the then third umpire Oxenford pressed a wrong button – in response to a stumping review. It was beyond comical when legendary Wasim Akram and Ravi Shastri shared a commentary box amid histrionics.
In a similar context, umpires should be held responsible too, for committing a faux pas and they are bound to be penalised in the same way players do. It’s high time for the ICC to react to its length and breadth.
Meanwhile, Dhoni has always been primed as the cornerstone in India’s modern-day cricketing landscape. His die-hard fans religiously follow him. But after what unfolded during the thrilling last over in one of the IPL fixtures on Thursday (April 11) night between Rajasthan Royals(RR) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK), cricketing pundits have held him responsible for the melee.
It has been unbelievable and unacceptable while going by Dhoni’s humility and the laws of the game. His outburst at the boundary ropes and then marching on to the field, has taken the internet by storm, so as, his admirers. And why shouldn’t it? The diplomat in Dhoni has been the true emissary of the game for years now.
Over the years, he has left an indelible mark, but again, unfortunately, spoiled it with a blemish at the age of 37, visibly gasping for air while running between the wickets.
In the milieu, Dhoni has defied physics, but the recent meltdown is an eye-opener in the broader spectrum of cricketing folklore. And if by any means Ravichandran Ashwin stands as a culprit for the Mankading incident, then by going to those standards Dhoni has committed a blunder by tarnishing its image. Above all, cricket won’t bear outlaws, not at all.
To top it, Murali Kartik, who hosted the post-match presentation, surprisingly did not ask a single question whatsoever regarding the unfortunate episode which unfolded during the final over, even when Dhoni hinted at it through a witty remark.
With all hackneyed questions, giant broadcaster Star Sports’ presenter Kartik continued his typical way before missing on a follow-up question.
“You again took the game deep?,” asked Kartik to Dhoni.
Dhoni’s smirk said it all, “By being there at the end… Do you mean having a conversation with the umpires?”.
Interestingly, Kartik has played seven One-day Internationals (ODIs) and a solitary Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) under Dhoni’s captaincy.
However, by midnight the news broke that Dhoni has faced a 50% fine of his match fee for breaching the Code of Conduct. Some believe that it was a lenient decision while considering Dhoni’s foothold who roughly lost an amount of $77, 279 (INR 53, 57, 142).
Anyway, it won’t dent his purse.
Practically, the result has been divided with the number of group stage games in the IPL.
Dhoni has accepted the sanction by admitting to the Level 2 offence 2.20 of the IPL’s Code of Conduct. Also, the charter holds a significance for the spirit of the game.
Since the introduction of the IPL in 2008, the three-time champions Super Kings’ captain Dhoni have an indenture of approximately $2.1 million for each of the seasons.
However, Team India skipper Virat Kohli tops the charts with $2.4 million.
Dhoni – a captain marvel, is among the highest paid athletes. His net worth is projected to be over $111 million.
The true sportsmen in the field have their plinth based on determination, integrity, courage and honour and Dhoni ticks all the boxes.
Besides it, the spirit of the game has inspired many cricket frenzy nations cherishing the decades-old history of the gentleman’s game thoroughly.
All in all, Dhoni has been an epitome of courage. He has been a badge for discipline as well as the destruction of the opponents. He has gone as smooth as his skills and as sturdy as his beliefs on the field.
Succinctly, enraged MS Dhoni will regret it for the rest of his life and certainly for a reason. For him, the spirit of the game has often been deemed as paramount.
In all possibilities, Dhoni might be a brute force, better in the stature, brighter in nature. But, he could never ever be considered bigger than the game. Plainly, he himself has cherished cricket, since his days of yore apart from the soccer he played back in his hometown, Ranchi.
Overall, holding Dhoni responsible isn’t a good idea. The world cricket governing body ICC shall take notice of such dissent. And, equally, decide the quantum of punishment in the international fold.
For many decades, the debate continues regarding the spirit of the game which is genuinely understood by the cricketers worldwide.
The treaty of conscience has remained a spectacle in the sport rather than the divine model.
With guardians of the game fetching the fat pay-cheque, the standard of umpiring in the world’s demanding leagues has turned out to be a dampener.
And it’s the high time for world’s richest board – Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) – to look into the matter of glaring errors – a day in and day out.
While leaving behind what could’ve been a potential soccer career in Ranchi, Dhoni delved deep to change his fortunes. Maybe, he wouldn’t have been as successful as in cricket, but it was all predestined.
Dhoni’s brain explosion is one of the rarest sights in cricket. It has palpably caused a furore in the cricketing world. He has been wise, inspirational and occasionally humourous, too. At his benign best, he has been an indispensable part of the cricketing fraternity with all pride and modesty.
His statistics are known to us, and so is his finishing ability over the years.
Dash Dhoni, Dash – to endure his legacy.
Dhoni’s melody lies in his credibility. But he had already realised while wearing a sheepish smile on that particular night. He had set a wrong precedent and he must have scratched his head for being unlike Dhoni in sweltering Jaipur.
It might not affect his endorsements for the time being. But it has somewhat struck his conscience, that too while humiliating himself by barging into the field of play.
In short, meek Dhoni’s persona faced a litmus test in sizzling Jaipur. Dhoni’s visceral reaction had summed up all in the Pink City.