It’s been almost six months since MS Dhoni gave up Indian cricket team’s captaincy but it seems like his non-captaincy days, when MS Dhoni-The Power Hitter took on some of the big names in cricket and became the nightmare of almost every bowler, are hard to forget.
From playing under the shadows of Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar to taking a young Indian team to the T20 World Cup title, followed by ICC World Cup as well as the Champions Trophy, MS Dhoni has garnered numerous accolades under his belt and there is no denying the fact that he is one of the most successful captains in World Cricket.
However, everybody starts fresh and same was the case with MS Dhoni. The moment we are going to talk about today dates back to the year 2006. Yes, it has been more than a decade but by the end of this article, you will get to know why MS Dhoni is regarded as the epitome of sportsmanship.
It’s more of a verbal fight or an on-field disappointment than a feud and Brian Lara, one of the most successful batsmen in the history of world cricket, was on the other side of this episode.
Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting, and Sachin Tendulkar are regarded as the modern age greats who scored runs everywhere they played. Lara, after making his debut in 1990, made history with his first Test century in 1991 (277 runs) against Australia. He also holds the record of highest individual Test score (400*) and First Class cricket (501*).
However, despite cricket being a gentleman’s game, we have seen or heard many players exchanging some harsh words or getting irritated on a wrong call by the umpire. In 2006, as part of the Indian team on the tour of the West Indies for a Test series, a patient Dhoni had to face an irate Brian Lara in the middle of the game because of one of the above said reasons.
Wasim Jaffer gave India a strong opening with a brilliant 212 run innings while becoming the only fourth person to register a double ton in West Indies. Later, during the innings, MS Dhoni and Mohd. Kaif added to West Indies’ trauma by going for quick runs, for Rahul Dravid to declare at the opportune time.
On the fifth delivery of the 151st over, MS Dhoni hammered the ball for a six but Darren Ganga, positioned for the exact shot, caught the ball at the boundary line.
Or did he?
This was the same question that raised temperatures on the ground. Billy Doctrove was the third umpire and on-field umpires asked him for clarity as Ganga seemed to have stepped on the ropes, however, the replay was not a conclusive-enough proof and the decision came back to the on-field umpires.
Brian Lara started arguing with the umpires and asked them to believe his side of the story and then he walked to the man himself, MS Dhoni. The former India skipper while recalling the event ESPNCricinfo said, “Brian came up to me and said, ‘I’m taking the charge of my players’, as in taking the responsibility of his players, and ‘I think you should walk off. What they say is going to be the truth’. Then we decided that I should walk off. He came late to me. Daren came first and it was tough for him because it (the rope) was on his back side. And it’s hard to feel a piece of paper when it’s behind you. So he was not entirely sure about it, he said, ‘I’m not really sure if I stepped on it'”.
Watch The Video Here:
( Video Courtesy: Tejasvi Aswathanarayana )
After having an earful from Brian Lara, MS Dhoni started to walk off the pitch, showing respect to the legend and an even more irritated Rahul Dravid declared the innings right there.
At the end of the match, commentators revealed that MS Dhoni himself answered in a ‘Yes’ after the on-field umpires asked for his decision on whether he believes West Indies’ side of story or not.
After this, MS Dhoni took the Indian side to the No.1 position in ICC Test rankings and this remained one of the most unusual moments of his career.