The Indian team management was braced to lodge an appeal with the International Cricket Council (ICC) if only MS Dhoni was penalised at the hearing with ICC match referee Andy Pycroft on Friday. According to a source, both on-field umpires Rod Tucker and Enamul Haque had written in their report that the Indian captain had got involved in a deliberate and inappropriate physical contact with Mustafizur Rahman. Initially, the report was only against Dhoni.
The same had been relayed to the Indian management at around 1am when the team returned to their hotel after losing to Bangladesh in the first ODI.
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. 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.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). "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," it said.
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