Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain MS Dhoni has been criticized by former International Cricket Council (ICC) umpire Daryl Harper for not respecting the spirit of the game during Indian Premier League (IPL 2023 ) Qualifier 1 against Gujarat Titans (GT) on Tuesday (May 23) at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. 

The incident occurred at the start of the 16th over of the GT’ chase. CSK were comfortably cruising towards a win after getting the Titans six down for 102 runs. At that time the equation was 71 runs to win in 30 balls. Dhoni wanted to end the game there itself for GT and hence decided to bring back Matheesha Pathirana into the attack. But the umpires did not permit Dhoni to do so.

CSK seamer Pathirana was out of the field for a few minutes and hence was not allowed to immediately come to bowl after returning to the field. According to the rules, any player who’s been off the field for over eight minutes has to spend the same amount of time on the field before coming in to bowl.

After that, Dhoni and some other CSK players were involved in a heated discussion with the on-field umpires, which lasted more than four minutes, thus giving Pathirana a chance to start the 16th over.

The fans have soon forgotten the incident once CSK successfully defended the target against the current title holders. And with that they managed to entered into their 10th IPL final. But former ICC umpire Harper remembers it vividly as he launched a ferocious attack on the CSK captain, accusing him of deliberating and wasting time. Harper implicated that the CSK captain wasted time on purpose to tick the clock so that Pathirana could bowl the full quota of his overs.

Speaking to Mid-day, Harper said “Of course MS Dhoni wasted time to allow his preferred bowling option to deliver the vital sixteenth over. That’s the only conclusion that I can draw from that disappointing spectacle. The issue for me is the lack of respect shown for the Spirit of cricket and for the directions of the umpires. There were other options for the captain but they were ignored.”

“Maybe, some people are bigger than the law or in this case, the spirit of cricket. It’s always disappointing to see the lengths that some people will go to in order to win.” added Harper.

Not the first time a brawl has taken place between a world-champion skipper from India and an Australian- based umpire. An incident on similar lines happened in 2011 during the India tour of the West Indies for the Test series when the then-Indian captain criticized the umpiring in the series, and even then, Harper confronted Dhoni.


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