When Dhoni traded gloves for cherry!
It must have been deja vu for Mahendra Singh Dhoni when he donned the bowler’s role having handed over the big gloves to Dinesh Karthik, a specialist wicketkeeper himself, during India’s Champions Trophy semifinal clash with Sri Lanka here on Thursday.
With the Indian seamers strangling the Sri Lankan batsmen with swing, pace and bounce in perhaps the best bowling conditions for fast bowling in this tournament, Dhoni decided to bowl seam up. Given the windy and overcast conditions, India would have done with another seamer in the side but then hindsight is always a privilege. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma cranking it up, Dhoni took the ball in the 24th over to a huge roar from the near capacity crowd.
Dhoni’s first delivery clocked a decent 124 kmph and Mahela Jayawardene left the ball on the off-stump alone. But the second one jagged back sharply before rapping on Jayawardene’s pads. There was a spontaneous appeal from the Indian fielders and umpire Aleem Dar raised his finger after some contemplation. On review of the decision, however, it was found that there was an inside edge before the ball made contact with the pad.
Jayawardene survived but Dhoni’s mind might have wandered back to Lord’s nearly two years ago. In the opening Test against England, Dhoni came on to bowl after Zaheer Khan had pulled out due to a hamstring injury with Rahul Dravid keeping the wickets. On the second day of the Test, Dhoni took the ball in the 78th over and with the third ball of his second over won a caught-behind appeal against Kevin Pietersen who was batting on 73 then.
Pietersen went for the review and the hot spot showed no contact with the bat and that the sound was of the ball flicking the pad on its way to Dravid.