The Indian team management was braced to lodge an appeal with the International Cricket Council (ICC) if only Mahendra Singh Dhoni was penalised at the hearing with ICC match referee for shoving Bangladesh bowler Mustafizur Rahman, Hindustan Times reported.
The Indian newspaper quoted a source as saying that both on-field umpires Rod Tucker and Enamul Haque had written in their reports that the Indian captain had got involved in a deliberate and inappropriate physical contact with Mustafizur, the debutant Bangladeshi bowler from Satkhira.
Initially, the report was only against Dhoni.
In the eventual ruling by match referee Andy Pycroft, Dhoni’s experience went against him.
“In the hearing, Dhoni defended the charge on the basis that the bowler was on the wrong line and realising that he couldn’t avoid the collision, he used his hand and arm to push him away as he went through to ‘minimise the impact,'” Pycroft said.
“However, my assessment was that Dhoni deliberately pushed and shouldered Mustafizur, which was inappropriate.” added the match referee.
The same had been relayed to the Indian management at around 1:00am when the team returned to their hotel after losing to Bangladesh in the first ODI.
Although Bangladesh supporters celebrated the win over India, they didn’t take Dhoni’s collision with Mustafizur in a good light.
Print and especially social media carried the incident extensively and many felt aggrieved about Mustafizur’s harsh punishment.
When Indian captain MS Dhoni was called by match referee Pycroft at 2:00 am after reaching the hotel, he realised things were about to get serious regarding his collision.
Members of Indian team management accompanied MS Dhoni to the meeting where the batsman was presented with umpire’s report against him.
Dhoni was given three options by the match officials of ICC during the disciplinary hearing.
Dhoni was given three options by the ICC – accept the charges and face punishment deemed appropriate, accept the charges and request a smaller penalty or contest the charges, reported the Hindustan Times.
After several rounds of meetings, the last one being held between Dhoni, Virat Kohli, team director Ravi Shastri and manager Biswarup Dey in the morning, they decided to contest the charges.
They were also prepared to lodge an appeal if Pycroft had penalised only Dhoni.
“Our main defence was Dhoni never tried to intentionally hurt Mustafizur,” said a team source.
At the hearing, held around 10 am, Dhoni was shown video footage of the incident that happened in the 25th over when the India captain clattered into Rahman while running a single.
The pacer had to leave the field after that. The source said that Dhoni chronologically described what happened while the footage was being shown and also pointed out that his elbow was never raised during the moment of contact.
“With Rahman on the wrong side and Suresh Raina to his right, Dhoni had very little gap to go through for his single. He couldn’t have gone to his left and run down the middle of the pitch.”
“And surely he couldn’t have skirted both of them since that could have led to a run-out. No batsman would want that,” said the source.
Rahman and Bangladesh manager Khaled Mahmud Sujon were also summoned after Dhoni’s hearing.
The bowler had first pleaded not guilty to the charges but once the footage was shown, he admitted that getting in Dhoni’s way was not appropriate and that he should have done more to avoid contact.
Not pursuing matter
Once Pycroft announced that Dhoni and Rahman had been fined 75% and 50% of their match fees respectively, the Indian management decided not to pursue the matter further.
“Had Rahman not been punished we would have lodged an appeal. But now it’s fine,” said the source to the Hindustan Times.
According to a statement by the ICC, Pycroft was not convinced that Dhoni couldn’t have avoided the collision and hence it was deemed a Level 2 breach, which falls under ICC rule 2.2.4 (inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players).