Cheating or master strategy? MS Dhoni's controversial tactic sparks debate as Chennai beats Gujarat to reach IPL final

Former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar failed to understand the manoeuvre and said CSK captain should have accepted umpire's decision

By Web Desk

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Published: Wed 24 May 2023, 9:22 AM

Last updated: Wed 24 May 2023, 9:26 AM

After the Chennai Super Kings bowlers bundled out the batting lineup of the Gujarat Titans, CSK entered the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 on Tuesday. And one name that trends after every CSK game is skipper MS Dhoni - be it for his out-of-the-park sixes, retirement plans, or on-field decisions. 'Captain Cool' is also known for his match-winning tactics and unusual captaincy, but one ploy during last night's match at Chepauk left the cricketing world divided.

During the first Qualifier of IPL 2023, Dhoni was accurate with most of his decisions; however, an intriguing incident transpired during the Titans' chase. Before the 15th over, Dhoni engaged in an extended conversation with the umpires. This unexpected delay puzzled the commentators and viewers, sparking speculation. It was later revealed that Dhoni employed a deliberate time-wasting strategy to get his bowler to bowl the over.

Matheesha Pathirana wasn't allowed to bowl his second over by the umpire because the right-arm pacer was not present on the field for the same amount of time as he had been off it. Dhoni managed to keep the umpires engaged in a lengthy conversation while other CSK players surrounded the officials. This manoeuvre effectively delayed the resumption of play. Consequently, it was only after this delay that Pathirana was permitted to bowl. Dhoni's shrewd approach demonstrated his ability to utilise various techniques to gain an advantage for his team.

Regardless of this tactical acumen, Dhoni's move was not appreciated by all. Gujarat Titans fans failed to digest the manoeuvre. One person wrote on Twitter: "This isn't acceptable at all." Someone else posted: "That's pure cheating by Dhoni. The Match Referee [should] take some action."

Veteran cricketer and commentator Sunil Gavaskar also reacted and said: "You accept the umpire's decision. Even if the umpire gets it wrong sometimes in high-pressure situations."

But the CSK fans aren't complaining, championing Dhoni as a master strategist of the game. During the post-match interview, Dhoni called himself an 'annoying captain'.

"You see the wicket, you see the conditions, and according to that, you keep adjusting the field. I can be a very annoying captain because I shift the fielder one or two feet here and there every time," MS Dhoni said.

"The fielder needs to keep an eye on me. Imagine you are fielding, and every two balls or three balls, I am like, 'Okay, two feet to your right, three feet to your left.' It can be annoying. I always say I believe in my gut feeling, I see the wicket, the line, what is really happening and more often than not, it pays off. The only request I ask from the fielders is 'keep an eye on me; if you drop a catch, there won't be any reactions, but just keep an eye on me," he added.

The fielders did keep an eye on him and gathered around the officials when the captain started chatting up and wasting time to pave the way for Pathirana's spell.

Dhoni was also asked if he would be back in Chennai next year. He remained noncommittal on the topic, stating he had another eighteen months to make a decision, but admitted that it had taken a "heavy toll" on him.

"I do not know, I have eight to nine months to decide; the small auction may be around December, so why take that headache right now? I have ample time to decide," Dhoni said.

Dhoni has had a knee problem all season and was seen wearing a brace after CSK's final league game. While he hasn't missed a game, he has struggled to run between wickets.

"I will always be there for CSK, whether in the playing form or sitting somewhere outside...I do not really know. Frankly, it takes a heavy toll. I have been out of the home for literally four months. January 31 was when I got out of the house, finished my work, and started practising from the 2nd or 3rd of March. It takes a lot, but I have ample time to decide," the CSK captain said.

Inputs from ANI


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