Published: 28th Dec,2020 4:37PM

Former India captain MS Dhoni won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award of the Decade for recalling Ian Bell after a bizarre run out in the Nottingham Test in 2011.

According to ICC, MS Dhoni was chosen as the winner by fans unanimously for his commendable act.

The incident that eventually led to MS Dhoni winning the Spirit of Cricket Award of the Decade, occurred on the third day of the Nottingham Test, at the stroke of tea.

Eoin Morgan flicked the last ball of the 66th over from Ishant Sharma to deep square leg. The fielder Praveen Kumar tumbled over the ropes while trying to save the boundary.

The batsmen completed the third run after which Bell (batting on 137) jogged towards Morgan,

who was at the non-striker’s end, thinking the ball was no longer in play. The two even started heading towards the pavilion for Tea.

Bizarrely, the ball hadn’t crossed the boundary ropes, neither had the umpires declared ‘over’. Praveen eventually got the throw in and Abhinav Mukund took off the bails. The Indians then appealed for a run-out.

The umpires confirmed with the Indians whether they want to go ahead with the appeal. The visitors persisted and the third umpire declared Bell out.

What went behind MS Dhoni overturning the decision?

At the Tea break, England captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower headed to the Indian dressing room to ask MS Dhoni if the run-out decision could be overturned. MS Dhoni, after consulting his teammates, agreed to withdraw the appeal. As a result, Bell walked back into bat with Morgan in the post-Tea session.

Speaking after the day’s play, Bell had appreciated MS Dhoni and India’s gesture, and told Star Cricket:

“Probably naive on my behalf, but taking into account the spirit of cricket and everything, this was probably the right decision. It wasn’t until we [Bell and Morgan] reached the boundary rope, when the umpires asked us to wait, that I knew something was on. It’s fantastic the way India have gone about this. The captains and coaches got together, and were asked if the decision would stand. Duncan Fletcher and MS Dhoni went back to discuss it with the team and came back to us, and I got the nod.”

Senior Indian batsman Rahul Dravid also agreed that the right decision was made in the end. He had opined:

 “In the laws of the game, if you follow them strictly, that was out, but it didn’t feel right in the spirit of the game. 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 … If this had happened to our guys we would not have been happy about it. So all of that was discussed.”

Ian Bell was eventually dismissed for 159. However, England went on to win the Test by 319 runs to take a 2-0 lead in the four-Test series.

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