There is no place for physical contact between the players in a game of cricket. But what was witnessed last night in Mirpur was not right during the One Day International between India and Bangladesh.
India captain MS Dhoni, who usually displays a cool demeanour, appeared to have been furious with the opposition bowler as he shoved him away while taking a run.
The 19-year-old debutant Mustafizur Rahman was at the receiving end of Dhoni's ire as he deliberately came in the skipper's way.
Agreed, it was the young left-arm paceman's fault to not change his path intentionally to impede Dhoni. But was the wicketkeeper-batsman right in elbowing the paceman? Definitely not.
The blow was so severe on Rahman that he had to abandon bowling the over and leave the field injured. He however returned to add 3 more victims and finish 5/50 and give a famous 79-run win for his side.
Bangladeshi fans were angered by Dhoni's behaviour. However, both Dhoni and his counterpart Mashrafe Mortaza played down the incident in the post-match press conference.
"The bowler (Mustafizur) thought I would move away while I thought he would. But as none of us did, we collided because I had to take the closest path possible getting to the other end.
"If I am going around the bowler, more often than not they'll get the batsman out. So either I should have moved to the right or he should have moved to the left but both of us thought maybe the other guy will, but we ended up with a, what you can say, a typical kind of a street clash. Thankfully he didn't get injured, and I didn't get injured. I think this can happen in any match. It's nothing big. I spoke to him later," Dhoni said.
Later, reports emerged from Mirpur that the match referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe had summoned the skipper for the collision. The bowler was also present at the hearing. But there is no news of what is his decision yet.
There have been previous instances where players have been punished (both fined and banned) for such act of deliberate physical contacts.
India opener Gautam Gambhir was banned for 1 Test in 2008 for elbowing Shane Watson in a similar incident (while attempting a run). It was a Level 2 offence and charged under 2.2.4 of ICC code (Inappropriate and deliberate physical contact).
Now questions will arise whether Dhoni should be punished or let off with a warning?
It will be interesting to hear the match referee's verdict. It would be right if some action is taken.
What does ICC Code of Conduct for players say?
2.2.4 Inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between Players in the course of play
during an International Match.
NOTE: Without limitation, Players will breach this regulation if they deliberately walk or run
into or shoulder another Player
Range of permissible sanctions (first offence) - The imposition of a fine of between 50-100% of applicable Match Fee and/or up to two (2) Suspension Points.
Second offence within 12 months - The imposition of between two (2) and eight (8) Suspension Points.*
Third offence within 12 months - The imposition of eight (8) Suspension Points or a suspension for a fixed period of time ranging between the equivalent of eight (8) Suspension Points and one (1) year.*
Fourth and subsequent offences within 12 months - The imposition of a suspension of between one (1) and five (5) years.
* NOTE: In all cases marked with a *, the maximum 'actual' period of suspension shall be no more
than one (1) year, irrespective of the number and/or the practical application of any
Suspension Points that might be imposed.
7.4.1 - a Test Match or any other International Match of at least four days in duration is given a
weighting of two (2) Suspension Points;
7.4.2 - a One Day International Match or Twenty20 International Match is given a weighting of
one (1) Suspension Point; and
7.4.3 - all other International Matches are given a weighting of one (1) Suspension Point.
1st offence - Warning/reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine of up to 50% of the applicable Match Fee.
2nd within 12 months - The imposition of a fine of between 50-100% of the applicable Match Fee and/or up to two (2) Suspension Points.
3rd within 12 months - The imposition of between two (2) and eight (8) Suspension Points.*
4th and subsequent offences within 12 months - The imposition of eight (8) Suspension Points or a suspension for a fixed period of time ranging between the equivalent of eight (8) Suspension Points and one (1) year.*