The team wanted to protect the ’spirit of the game’: Dravid

August 1st, 2011 - 2:34 am ICT by IANS  

Nottingham, Aug 1 (IANS) Veteran Indian batsman Rahul Dravid said it was an unanimous decision by the team to reinstate Ian Bell, who was run out in a bizarre manner, and protect the ’spirit of the game’.

Dravid said the entire team had a chat during the tea break and they felt that Bell should be called back.

“Led by (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni, there was unanimity in the team that he (Bell) should be reinstated,” Dravid said after the third day’s play.

“Under the rules he was out, but there was not a nice feeling in the dressing room. There was a bitter feeling in the stomach,” said Dravid.

“We thought that we would have felt bad had it happen to our player. In the series against West Indies, (VVS) Laxman was given out stumped when he dragged his feet that had left a bitter taste in the team. It can happen to anyone.

“There was a discussion in the dressing room and we knew it was not in the spirit of the game. There was unanimity that we should reinstate Ian and protect the spirit of the game. The team was led beautifully by Dhoni.

“We all discussed it and we were all behind the decision. We always try to play the game in the right spirit.”

The incident happened in the the last ball before the tea, Morgan flicked Ishant Sharma to deep square, where Praveen Kumar lunged to save the ball at the boundary rope. The fielder thought it was a four and so did the England batsmen. But it wasn’t.

Bell, who was leading England’s charge and batting at 137, casually left his crease thinking the ball had crossed the boundary and it was tea time. The ball was still in play and the umpires had not called tea.

The throw came back and the Abhinav Mukund took off the bails and India appealed for a run out, much to the shock of English batsmen.

The field umpires after deliberation referred it to third umpire Billy Bowden, who after seeing that it was not a boundary, ruled in favour of India.

The mood in the England dressing room turned dark and sour as a bewildered Bell, clueless over his dismissal, and
Morgan walked to the pavilion.

Bell said that it was “naive” of him to leave the crease, but insisted he never intend to go for a fourth run.

“Morgan hit the ball off his legs and the way the fielder reacted we thought it went for four. I turned round and put my bat down and I was walking off for tea. The umpire took out a jumper and was walking over to the bowler and it looked like we were heading for tea,” said Bell.

“We were shocked at what was going on. But the spirit of the game has been kept. The captains and coaches met and at the last minute I knew I was going out to bat again.”

International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat was delighted by the way in which the situation was resolved.

“Absolute credit must go to Team India, the England team and the match officials — (match referee) Ranjan Madugalle, (on-field umpires) Asad Rauf and Marais Erasmus, as well as the off-field umpires Billy Bowden and Tim Robinson — for the superb way that they all handled a tricky situation,” Lorgat said.

“While the initial appeal and umpire decision may have been acceptable to the letter of the law, the decision by India captain M.S. Dhoni and his team — as well as the Team India coaching staff — to withdraw the appeal shows great maturity,” he said.

“To see players and officials uphold the great spirit of cricket, which has underpinned the game for more than a century, is very special.

“I am indeed grateful for the way that the teams and match officials handled what was clearly a difficult situation and their behaviour reflects well on everyone.”

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