India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was on Friday fined 75% of his match fees for allegedly shoving young Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman during the first ODI of the three-match cricket series .
Dhoni was charged with a Level 2 offence under the ICC Code of Conduct yesterday for elbowing the debutant pacer while chasing an imposing 308-run target set by Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.
The incident happened in the 25th over of India's chase when Dhoni made physical contact with Rahman, who came in Dhoni's way while completing his follow-through as the Indian captain was running a single. Replays showed Dhoni shoved him while trying to reach the crease.
Match referee Andy Pycroft summoned Team India manager Biswarup Dey last night to intimate him about the hearing.
According to reliable sources, a collective decision was taken by the team management that the skipper would not plead guilty in this case as he never tried to hurt the bowler intentionally.
Accordingly, the administrative manager filled the form where India decided to contest the charge.
In the morning at the team hotel on Friday, on-field umpires Rod Tucker and Enamul Haque Moni were called by Pycroft after which the trio of Dhoni, Dey, and Team India Director Ravi Shastri were summoned.
It was learnt that the team's defence was that Dhoni never raised his elbow and the officials said that he just wanted to complete the run. Their bone of contention was that according to replays, there was no gap between shoulder and armpit which justifies that he did not try to elbow the bowler.
However, it was learnt that any sort of body contact can't be termed as a Level 1 offence and match referee Pycroft had to press Level 2 charges, which is a fine between 50% to 100% match fees or a two-match ban.
Pycroft said: "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'.
"However, my assessment was that Dhoni deliberately pushed and shouldered Mustafizur, which was inappropriate. Even if there was a narrow gap between the runner (Suresh Raina) and the bowler, an experienced Dhoni should have tried to avoid the collision as cricket is a non-contact sport and the players are expected to avoid physical contact at all times. On this basis, I fined Dhoni 75% of his match fee."
Having initially pleaded not guilty to the offence, upon being faced with the evidence during the hearing and upon questioning, Mustafizur admitted his guilt and accepted the proposed sanction. Pycroft said, "Mustafizur was fined 50% of his match fee after he admitted that his actions in not getting out of the batsman's way were inappropriate and he should have done more to avoid the contact."
Mustafizur had earlier told Bengali daily Prathom Aalo that "I made a mistake coming in the way".