From the Viewsroom

It’s not cricket

B Baskar | Updated on April 16, 2019

The CSK captain’s rushing onto the field was not in good spirit

You can call it the tale of two incidents of the IPL’s 11th season. The first was of course Punjab King’s XI captain Ravichandran Ashwin running out Rajasthan Royals’ Jos Buttler. The running out, which is rather unfairly termed as ‘Mankading’, was rather vehemently criticised by both former players and officials with even the MCC condemning it. What Ashwin did was well within the rules of the game but was universally deemed as against the game’s spirit.

And last week when CSK had to score 8 runs in the last three balls against the Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur, the CSK captain MS Dhoni, who was already out, rushed into the field to argue with the umpires over a disputed no ball. What Dhoni did was unprecedented as he had no business to be on the field given that he was already out. The on-field umpires promptly asked him to leave but not before Dhoni had made his point. He was summoned by the match referee after the game was docked 50 per cent of his match fee as punishment.

But what was curious was the reaction over the two incidents. Though Ashwin’s action was swiftly and roundly criticised with former players leading the pack, the criticism against Dhoni’s action was far more muted.

Dhoni can consider himself lucky not to get a match ban. Also what he did was totally out of character as he is generally known as ‘Captain Cool’. Even is a sport like football where players arguing with the referee is common sight, players rushing in from the dugout is not acceptable and the referee is empowered to show cards to players sitting on the substitutes’ bench.

The instant criticism of Ashwin, some of it unfair, and the more muted criticism — from the players (both current and former) fans, officials and even the media — of Dhoni, is a reflection of how we are willing to be more lenient towards players who are popular.

Published on April 16, 2019

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