MS Dhoni and his Indian team-mates have been fined for their slow over-rate during the fifth Test defeat to England yesterday.
The International Cricket Council released this statement explaining the decision:
"Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side were ruled to be three overs short of its target at the end of the match when time allowances were taken into consideration.”
India lost by an embarrassingly big margin of an innings and 244 runs at The Oval, completing a series they ended up losing 3-1.
The captain will be fined 60percent of his match fee and the rest of the team will be fined 30 percent.
“In accordance with ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel regulations governing minor over-rate offences,” the statement continued.
“Players are fined 10% of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.”
It can’t really get much worse for India. Handsomely beaten by a new-look England side, an imploding batting lineup and now a pay cut. It’s the gone-off cherry on top of the sour cake.
The highs reached after the Lord’s Test where Ishant Sharma bizarrely bounced out the home side have become nonexistent. This latest debacle mounts the pressure already on Dhoni, whose captaincy was criticised during the last three Test matches on the grounds that he let the games 'pass him by.’
On the final day of the series, India conceded 101 runs in 11.3 overs and were bowled out in 29.2 overs. One does wonder where the captaincy was in order to stem the run rate. It was meek and painful to watch.
Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar was understandably seething after his nation’s abysmal showing yesterday.
On ESPN Cricinfo, he said: "If you do not want to be playing Test cricket for India, quit. Just play limited-overs cricket. You should not be embarrassing your country like that.”
The highly opinionated Geoffrey Boycott, who averaged 47.72 in test matches for England, classically remarked: "India were pathetic when they had to bat and bowl on two seaming, swinging pitches at Old Trafford and The Oval... The Indian batsmen were like lambs to the slaughter.”
An interesting reaction came from Ajit Wadekar - former Indian captain and aggressive left-handed batsman.
The 73-year-old said: "What was Fletcher doing after we won the Lord's Test on a difficult pitch? This is where he lacked imagination in keeping the lead. Yes, I think Fletcher has to go.”
Whether the Asian giants will ring the changes of management purely after this series is up for debate. What is more likely you feel is that MS Dhoni could step down as Test captain but remain in charge of the country’s limited overs matches, a form of cricket he clearly prefers.
For all of their talent and Indian Premier League riches, the batting order was horrifically abject. Murali Vijay’s 145 at Trent Bridge and Ajinka Rahane’s 103 at Lord’s were undoubted highlights and were by far and away the best indian batsmen of the series.
The form of their premier players Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, who were expected to carry India’s batting for the next decade, has constantly put the lower order under pressure.
Since his half-century in Nottingham, Pujara's scores have read: 28, 43, 24, 2, 0, 17, 4 and 11. Kohli has matched him step for step with a sequence of 1, 8, 25, 0, 39, 28, 0, 7, 6 and 20. These two supposed linchpins have failed and so has their team.
They’ll be thankful for the five match One-Day series coming up next Monday. Maybe the white ball will act as inspiration for an Indian fightback. Dhoni and his team need something from somewhere.