Former India captain Sourav Ganguly backed MS Dhoni in the no-ball controversy, saying the former India skipper is human at the end of the day and his competitiveness is remarkable.
"Everyone's human. What stands out for me is his competitiveness, which is remarkable," Delhi Capitals advisor Ganguly told reporters at the end of their seven-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Friday.
Chennai Super Kings skipper Dhoni, on his 100th IPL win over Rajasthan Royals, lost his cool in the last over when a waist-high no-ball to Mitchell Santner was ruled out by umpire Ulhas Gandhe.
Dhoni stormed inside the ground in never-seen-before scenes and chastised Gandhe before leg umpire Bruce Oxenford asked him to calm down.
Sources in the know of developments told IANS that it was on the word of Oxenford that the match referee -- Prakash Bhatt -- decided to keep the sanction to just the deduction of match fee.
"When all parties met in the match referee's room after the game, Oxenford made it clear that he wasn't offended by the CSK skipper's act of walking onto the field and having a discussion on the no-ball being reversed," the source said.
While Dhoni escaped a ban, he had to pay 50% of his match fee as fine instead. Though the umpire might have understood that Dhoni’s reaction came in the heat of the moment, many former cricketers criticised the two-time World Cup winning captain for his behaviour.
"This is not a good look for the game... No place at all for a captain to storm onto the pitch from the dugout," former England captain Michael Vaughan tweeted.
Former Australia opener Michael Slater, who was commentating in the match, was shocked by what he saw. "I can't say I've seen this (before)," Slater said. "You will never see a captain storm onto the field to have a discussion with the umpires. Unbelievable."
Echoing Slater, former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta said: "He's got every right to go and speak to the fourth umpire, he's got every right to speak to the match referee ... but walking in while the game is on (is wrong). Just because you feel you've been wronged, you can't go and do things which are not permitted."
Former Australia pacer Shaun Tait also lashed out at Dhoni. "You don't walk onto the field. It's not village cricket or U-10 cricket -- this is the IPL. "You're a player. I think Dhoni sometimes forgets that he's a player. You're not an official, you're a player, and you can't control the officials. It was a really bizarre look," Tait said.
While Dhoni has been criticised by former players, this isn't the first howler that has come from the Indian umpires in this edition of the Indian Premier League.
In the game between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians on March 28, S. Ravi failed to call a no-ball off Lasith Malinga in the final over of the RCB innings. In the post-match ceremony, both RCB skipper Virat Kohli and his MI counterpart Rohit Sharma made their displeasure known.