Harper slams Dhoni for breaking Spirit of Cricket

Ex-ICC umpire says Indian skipper is a repeated offender

Beleagured Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been slammed by former umpire Daryl Harper for his unsportsmanship behaviour during the second Test against England.

Harper believes England's middle-order batsman Jonny Bairstow was not out when the fielder held his catch, deflected through Gautam Gambhir's helmet during the Mumbai Test.

"New accolades for M.S. Dhoni, the India skipper refused to withdraw an appeal when replays clearly showed that the ball had made contact with Gambhir's helmet before he completed a catch to dismiss Bairstow," the Dawn quoted Harper, as saying.

"It is a clear breach of the laws of cricket and any national captain worth his weight in salt would have immediately withdrawn the appeal and allowed Bairstow to continue his innings. But Dhoni is a repeated offender when it comes to ignoring the Spirit of Cricket," he added.

Harper, who served on the Elite Umpires Panel of the International Cricket Council (ICC), says this is not the first time he has blatantly disrespected the Spirit of Cricket.

"After the first Test, didn't Dhoni make a thinly veiled disparaging remark about the umpires when he claimed that India had been forced to take more than ten wickets in England's second innings?" he said.

India won the match by nine wickets while Dhoni's decision to insist on a spin-friendly pitch at Wankhede Stadium backfired spectacularly as England humiliated them by 10 wickets with more than a day to spare.

Harper added: "In Jamaica in 2011, this was the same captain who mumbled something obscure about being back in his hotel room earlier if the correct decisions had been made! What does the Spirit of Cricket mean when it refers to respect for opponents, officials and the game?"

"Clearly Dhoni is above the game, but his history of disrespect for the game continues to build," said the Australian who famously no-balled Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan.

"For refusing to allow Bairstow to continue, I expect that Dhoni will now be felicitated for his gesture. Maybe it will be an MBE; Member of the Bullies Empire or simply an OBE; Often Belligerent to Everyone," he added sarcastically.

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