India's Dhoni in hot water

NORMAN DA COSTA, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:17 PM ET

TORONTO - India’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni is making headlines on and off the field. On the field he had the misfortune of being wrongfully dismissed in the current second Test against the West Indies being played at Bridgetown. Off it, he has come under unrelenting fire from the Aussie media for the uncomplimentary remarks directed against umpire Daryl Harper in the first Test last week.

His dismissal in this case had nothing to do with umpiring but because of a mix-up by host broadcaster IMG Media. Dhoni was caught for two off Fidel Edwards, but umpire Ian Gould called for a TV replay as he suspected the delivery may have been a no-ball.

Then came the goof up. The TV umpire was shown a previous delivery by Edwards which was legitimate. “IMG Media takes its responsibilities on this matter very seriously,’’ said the host broadcaster. “This was a case of human error, compounded by a senior replay operative having to return home at very short notice.” Dhoni was not impressed as he was also given out off a no-ball in the first Test that led to him castigating Harper. Harper was so rattled by the blistering attack he promptly resigned.

Harper was to retire after the third Test later this week but decided he had enough of Dhoni and his teammates. “I should never have applied the laws of cricket to Indian players,’’ said a sarcastic Harper.

He went on to criticize Dhoni and his bowlers for excessive appealing, something the West Indies players have also complained about. The game later this week would have been the 59-year-old Aussie umpire’s 300th international game. The Aussie media expressed surprise the International Cricket Council did not take Dhoni to task for his remarks about the umpire. I, too, am shocked the ICC did not put Dhoni on the carpet ... India’s top guns will be back for the tour of England that starts in mid-July. Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan, who missed the tour of the Caribbean, are included in the 17-man squad. Also named is opener Virender Sehwag even though he will miss the first Test as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

Canada given lifeline

The minnows are back in the World Cup. After a barrage of criticism from all quarters, the ICC reversed its earlier decision to exclude the four minnows from the 2015 World Cup and restrict it to just the 10 Test-playing nations.

The decision was welcomed by Cricket Canada CEO Chandra Gocool. “I suppose there was enough pressure put on the ICC leadership to change its mind. We welcome the change. We win a little but we (associate countries) will be giving up quite a bit after the 2015 tournament.’’

The ICC has made it clear that the 10-team format will be in place when England hosts the 2019 World Cup with the top eight Test teams gaining automatic berths. The associate nations can qualify only by upending the lower-ranked full members.

If that isn’t bad enough, the ICC also decided to go back on its word to increase the minnows’ representation at the next two World Twenty20 tournaments in 2012 in Sri Lanka and 2014 in Bangladesh. The two tournaments will feature 12 teams, including two minnows, instead of the 16 the ICC had originally promised. This decision prompted more outrage from the minnows and they have lodged an official protest. The ICC said the cost of putting up 16 teams was prohibitive. Canada, meanwhile, has lined up international matches against Afghanistan in Toronto in August and a trip to Ireland in September.

Sachin's new red toy

Last week Tendulkar sold the Ferrari 360 Modena he received as a gift and replaced it with another red car — a Nissan GT-R Supercar that cost him a reported $87,000 US. A close buddy of the world’s top batsman said Tendulkar was forced to part with the car because of its low ground clearance and the fact too many of his fans recognized the flashy car belonged to him. Tendulkar purchased the Nissan in Dubai and the company flew in two of its top engineers to Mumbai so that it could be tuned to Tendulkar’s liking.

Gayle, fans slam WIBC

The social media sites are having a field day slamming the West Indies Cricket Board for its treatment of star batsman Chris Gayle. The majority of fans are up in arms after Gayle, who had until Friday remained silent on his feud with the board, finally opened up. “I have now reached the stage where I have to say that enough is enough.’’

Much to Gayle’s surprise and those of cricket followers around the world, he was left out of the West Indies squad to play India in the Twenty20 and one-day matches. When the news broke that he had been dropped, Royal Challengers Bangalore of the Indian Premier League, wasted no time in signing him for a reported fee of $800,000. And he was worth every cent. In 12 matches, he amassed an amazing 608 runs with the phenomenal strike rate of 183.13.

Gayle refuted statements from the board that he no longer wanted to play international cricket, adding his attempts to settle matters with the WICB had hit a wall. “I have come to the bitter realization that I am not wanted by the board and all that has gone before in terms of reconciliation is a sham and a mockery. Despite all that has happened I am still hopeful that good sense will prevail and I would once again represent my country,’’ he said in a statement.

Several former West Indies Test players have also thrown their support behind Gayle and would like to see chief executive Ernest Hilaire booted out. But despite the uproar, Hilaire remains in charge even though he has no room for one of the world’s most explosive batsmen whose exploits include two triple centuries.

Sri Lanka ties series

Mahela Jayawardene rattled off a superb 144 to help Sri Lanka to an easy 69-run win over England to tie the five one-day series at 1-1. The third match will be played at Lord’s today. Sri Lanka put up a huge score of 309 for five and then restricted the hosts to 240.

The 34-year-old Jayawardene, who was moved up to open the batting following Sanath Jayasuriya’s retirement and the three-match suspension imposed on Upul Tharanga for failing a drugs test, will apparently be rested from some one-day matches to help him prolong his career.

normandacosta@hotmail.com


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