London, August 2 (ANI): Former England captain Michael Atherton has said withdrawing Ian Bell's controversial run out appeal had nothing to with the spirit of cricket but, subverted the rules of the game.
"Dhoni will be hailed as a great sportsman for his actions and there is no doubt that by withdrawing his appeal, he rescued what has so far been a hard-fought and good-spirited contest," Atherton, wrote in his column in The Times.
"In this instance, some spurious notion of the spirit of the game has actually subverted the laws of the game, and, therefore the natural progression of the game," he added.
The controversial appeal was made on the last ball before tea on the third day of play during the second Test match at Trent Bridge, when Praveen Kumar made a scrambling stop on the backward square-leg boundary before throwing the ball to Dhoni, who relayed it, underarm to Abhinav Mukund.
While Bell punched gloves with Morgan at the other end thinking that the ball had crossed the boundary, Mukund gently dislodged the bails.
The umpires confirmed Bell had been run out, but Indian players were subjected to howlers from the crowd as they walked off at tea.
Dhoni, however, sportingly overturned their run out appeal during the tea break and asked Bell to come out and bat again. He later went on to score 159.
"Dhoni will be congratulated for his sportsmanship. But, he would have been well within his rights not to have withdrawn the appeal. It was Bell, not India, who made a mistake yesterday and Dhoni should not have been castigated for initially upholding the appeal. It had nothing to do with the Spirit of Cricket," Atherton said.
"Through doziness or naivety, Bell took it upon himself to act as the umpire. He, not umpire (Asad) Rauf, decided the ball had gone to the boundary; he decided that the ball was dead; he decided the over had been bowled, and that tea was at hand. That is not the bastman's job," he added.(ANI)