Fanning the Spirit of Cricket: Mahi Lights the Way

Linus FernandesAnalyst IIAugust 1, 2011

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 28:  Mahendra Singh Dhoni of India practices his catching during Net Practice ahead of the second Test match at Trent Bridge on July 28, 2011 in Nottingham, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

If the Spirit of Cricket were a kite, then we all know who should be holding the strings, sending it soaring into the stratosphere.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni made Indians (and connoisseurs of the game) proud with his decision to rescind the contentious appeal made against Ian Bell at the break of tea on the third day of the third Test at Trent Bridge on Sunday, the 31st of July, 2011.

The contrast between the two sides was not more readily apparent than last evening.

One side has gone to town with allegations about "bat-fixing" with Vaseline to fox  "Hot-Spot." The other side has exhibited that the spirit of the game is more important than winning at all cost.

Michael Vaughan tweeted a "slanderous" comment about VVS Laxman using Vaseline to blunt the edge of technology. The former England captain soon discovered that Indian fans are no rustics. Vaughan is appalled at the virulent responses his remark received from Indian cricket fans all over the world. The "slanderer" had to change his dinner plans for Indian and is reduced to disguising himself when he goes shopping.

The creator of the technology, Warren Brennan, charged the Indians with using stickers to confuse infrared cameras. It appears that the sponsors like their logos visible from every possible angle. The matter has been brought to the ICC’s notice.

Stuart Broad went so far as to check Laxman’s club to see if there was any Vaseline or cream that negated his team’s appeal. The all-rounder was disappointed.

That Mahendra Singh Dhoni rose above similar petty considerations and brought back Ian Bell after the tea break is a measure of the man. His motto has always been: “Have fun on the field.”

Nothing exemplified this better than his magnanimous decision.

Indian commentators (Ravi Shastri and Sunny Gavaskar) in the box mostly supported the team’s earlier appeal—with the honourable exception of Saurav Ganguly. I am mildly astounded that a man renowned for his gamesmanship read the situation better than his more experienced colleagues.

The current Indian skipper played his part in correcting misapprehensions about Indian cricket (read the BCCI) being a big bully. Make no mistake, the BCCI is the elephant in the ICC room and cannot be wished away.

Indian cricketers are aware that their fans go to extremes with their bouts of praise and vilification. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has experienced highs and lows of cricketing success. His house was stoned following the 2007 World Cup debacle.

Michael Vaughan pointed this out in yet another tweet "What are they going to be like when they lose this Test?”

Mahi has done his bit. Will the real Indian cricket fan stand up and be counted?



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