Andrew Buncombe: Back at home, fans are full of praise for Dhoni

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The Independent Online

Amid their collective gloom, Indian cricket fans were at least able to take some comfort from their position perched on the high ground over the Ian Bell incident.

Whereas it triggered many comments in England about the foolishness of Bell (and even the purported wrong-headedness of MS Dhoni in agreeing to withdraw the team's appeal), in India there appeared to be a sense that their captain had done the correct thing.

"I think it was a very good decision," Anil Kumble, a former India captain, told the CNN-IBN news channel. "I think at the end of it you are playing a sport and you have to at some point take a call on whether the game is bigger than an individual and I think that is what Dhoni did and I am really proud of the team for playing the game in the right spirit."

Gundappa Viswanath, another former captain, was similarly impressed. In 1980, during a Test series against England, Viswanath called back Bob Taylor, who had been given out caught behind. Viswanath asked Taylor whether he had nicked it and when the batsman responded in the negative, the Indian captain asked that he be called back. Taylor and Ian Botham went on to produce a match-winning performance.

"For me, the spirit of the game is of paramount importance," Viswanath said. "Obviously, as a captain you play hard to win a match. But there are times when it's your inner call that tells you what is right."

But Indians were far less impressed by former England captain Michael Vaughan who wondered on Twitter whether VVS Laxman's bat may have been smeared with Vaseline to counter Hot Spot technology. "Has Vaseline on the edge saved the day for Laxman?" he wrote. The Mail Today reported on the torrent of comments and abuse Vaughan had received from Indian fans, saying he had learned first hand what it was like "rubbing Indian cricketers the wrong way".

Journalist and sports writer Venkat Ananth said that Vaughan's comments were uncalled for, though the tone of some of the responses had been almost as regrettable. "This is an important Test series and the quality of the cricket has been of a high calibre," he said. "I don't want it to be tarnished by a few individuals."

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