The last couple of Indian Premier League seasons have seen the famously unflappable MS Dhoni lose his cool on the field on more than one occasion and the umpires have usually been at the receiving end.
During Chennai Super Kings’ win against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday, Dhoni was crticised again for apparently bullying umpire Paul Reiffel into changing a wide call late in the run-chase.
The incident occurred Tuesday when Shardul Thakur bowled outside the off stump of Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman Rashid Khan.
Umpire Reiffel, who played 35 Tests for Australia before retiring, appeared to start the signal for a wide – both arms outstretched – when Dhoni as well as the bowler began protesting.
Reiffel then seemed to change his mind midway through the signal and the ball went down as legitimate in the crucial penultimate over of Hyderabad’s unsuccessful chase of 168.
Commentator Ian Bishop, a former West Indian international, said on ESPNcricinfo that Reiffel had erred.
“He started calling it a wide, he looked up, saw Dhoni and he changed his mind,” Bishop said.
“I am someone who is sympathetic to the umpires because it is a difficult job, but tonight I will say that Reiffel made a mistake.”
Hyderabad captain David Warner also seemed visibly unhappy from the dugout of the Dubai stadium in the United Arab Emirates.
The cricket laws state: “An umpire may alter any decision provided that such alteration is made promptly.”
The match saw Chennai bounce back from two losses to win by 20 runs and draw level with Hyderabad on six points in the eight-team table.
Last year Dhoni was fined 50% of his match fee after he stormed onto the field during a tense IPL game against Rajasthan Royals to contest an umpiring call. Earlier this season too, Dhoni was involved in an argument with umpires in the match against Royals at Sharjah.
It is worth noting that Dhoni is not the first wicketkeeper to express displeasure at an umpiring decision and what Reiffel did was not against the rules of the game.
Dhoni’s action, however, created a debate on social media.