India’s beloved, and most successful captain in the history of Indian cricket, MS Dhoni, was honoured with the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award of the decade. Dhoni beat some of the biggest names in the world of cricket like Kane Williamson, Mahela Jayawardene, and Brendon McCullum. But one incident is what sealed Dhoni’s name for the award.

In the India-England Test series in 2011, Dhoni took the decision to recall former England batsman Ian Bell after a controversial run out. During day 3 of the second Test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, Bell walked up to Eoin Morgan for a chat, after hitting a shot that he assumed would touch the boundary. Mid-chat, Praveen Kumar threw the ball from the deep and Abhinav Mukund ran him out by knocking the bails.

The umpire ruled it was a run out for being outside his crease. The Indian team was met with a whole stadium booing them while they walked inside for the tea break. But once the break ended, Bell was seen coming out, positioning himself at the crease, ready to bat once again. Rahul Dravid later revealed that Dhoni had decided to retract the appeal.

 

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“There was a team discussion during the tea interval, Dhoni and Fletcher convened the meeting, and Dhoni led it. There was a feeling of unanimity that we should reinstate Bell because the spirit of the game was important, and that getting him out in that way would contravene the spirit,” Dravid said.

Bell admitted that he was naive and ‘a bit stupid’ in the whole incident. “I take some of the blame. To walk off was very naive, a bit stupid. Looking back, it was probably a bit naive on my part to automatically walk off but the right decision has been made for the good of the game,” Bell had said.

“I put my bat down after the third run and it looked like we were just meandering off for tea. Turning around, the umpire took his jumper out and started to walk towards the bowler and it all just looked like it was going towards tea. We were both a bit shocked, we didn’t really realise what had happened until we were halfway off.

“I didn’t know until the last minute that I would be going back out again but the way it’s been handled has been fantastic and in the spirit of the game. I’ve learned a lot of lessons. I won’t ever do that again.”

 

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