Former Indian cricketers continue to give fans inside scoops from past incidents through new podcasts and interviews. This time it was Robin Uthappa’s turn to spill the beans on an incident involving his Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni and controversial fast bowler S Sreesanth. “It was just after the World Cup (played in the […]
Former Indian cricketers continue to give fans inside scoops from past incidents through new podcasts and interviews. This time it was Robin Uthappa’s turn to spill the beans on an incident involving his Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni and controversial fast bowler S Sreesanth.
“It was just after the World Cup (played in the West Indies in 2007), and we were playing Australia in Hyderabad,” he recollected on a recent episode of YouTube show ‘Wake Up With Sorabh’.
“And I think it was Andrew Symonds who had backed up. And then Sree (Sreesanth) stopped, took the stumps off and goes ‘How is that? How is that?’ So MS came running from there, pulled him and said ‘just go bowl bro’,” Uthappa added.
It was a rare incident of ‘Mankading’, a cricketing term applied to the act of the bowler running out the non-striker who has backed up too far, too soon. Ravichandran Ashwin has been involved in one too many during the recent seasons of the Indian Premier League.
Anyhow, this incident once again reminded Dhoni fans of his gentlemanly nature on the field.
Dhoni was even praised by his fans recently for an off-filed gesture. He opted to wait in Delhi before ensuring the safe exit of all his teammates upon the suspension of the recent IPL due to the pandemic’s second wave.
The Ian Bell incident
In 2011, Dhoni was lauded for withholding the ‘spirit of cricket’ in a run out incident in the Nottingham Test match. India was in England to play four Tests.
Promoted up the order for the injured Jonathan Trott, Bell came out to bat at one-down in the first innings of the second Test.
Having registered scores of 45, 0 and 31 in the series, Bell took apart the Indian bowlers on his way to a daddy hundred (156). But en route, he was reprieved from what could have been a run out on the last ball before tea, on Day 3 of the match.
His on-field partner Eoin Morgan tucked an Ishant Sharma delivery on to the leg side. Running in from fine leg, Praveen Kumar put in a middle-of-the-road dive to stop the ball from going past the boundary rope. Bell and Morgan started to walk back to the pavilion having assumed that the ball had touched the rope and.
Just then, Kumar threw the ball back to the keeper Dhoni, who passed it to Abhinav Mukund, who dislodged the bails with the batsman seeming ‘out of the crease’.
Within their right, the Indians appealed; and third umpire Billy Bowden’s verdict was out, since the ball had not crossed the boundary rope. On the other hand Bell claimed that the on-field umpire Asad Rauf had called “over”.
Between sessions, the incident became a hot topic of discussions between the two dressing rooms. And ultimately, the Indian team management led by Dhoni, decided to withdraw the appeal and ask Bell to come out to bat again.
Team India went on to lose the one-sided game eventually, but Dhoni was recognised with ICC’s Spirit of the Decade award in 2020.
The Karnataka batsman, who reminded us of Dhoni’s cricketing values, had shared the Indian dressing room with the Ranchi-born on multiple occasions in the 2000s; the duo are now part of the current CSK squad. Uthappa had recently also revealed that he shares a special bond with Dhoni and his wife Sakshi Singh.
”MS Dhoni is a very dear friend to me. Unfortunately, with the way he lives his life, he is an anti-phone person. It is very difficult to come into touch with him. But we do come in touch. When we meet, it’s like we have never been not in touch,” Robin Uthappa had said in an Instagram live session with Cricfit.
The former Indian cricketers’ most memorable time together on the field has to be from the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, held in South Africa. Led by a new captain in Dhoni, underdogs Team India went on to become champions and create some iconic moments in the tournament, including Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes in an over against England, and a tied group stage game against Pakistan, who they later defeated in the final.
The tied game happened in the pre-Super-Over era, where Bowl Outs were the norm. Much like a penalty shoot out in football, the Bowl Out had both the teams make attempts at striking the wicket, in the absence of a batter. For India Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh were on target as all of the Pak bowlers bowled spare, with the score at 2-0.
Uthappa was the final Indian bowler to hit the bull’s eye and seal the 3-0 victory.
Speaking on a Rajasthan Royals podcast with New Zealand spinner Ish Sodhi, Uthappa had said, “One of the things that MS Dhoni did really well that night, and that he did different from what the Pakistan keeper did, was where he stood behind the stumps.”
Image credit: Twitter/Sreesanth