Dhoni escapes slow over-rate ban
India's defeat to England in opening Test at Lord's notwithstanding, MS Dhoni was a relieved man.
For the time being, at least!
Soon after the match was over, he was told by match referee Ranjan Madugalle that his team's over-rate was okay and he had nothing to worry about.
India's captain was risking a one-match ban for slow over-rate.
For most of England's first innings, and some of the second, the Indian bowling rate was hovering around the 13-14 overs per hour mark. The rules make it mandatory to have 15 overs bowled in an hour.
Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: Getty Images
India have found it hard to maintain over-rate for sometime now
However, with Harbhajan Singh bowling lengthy spells, as also the use of part-time options like Suresh Raina and Dhoni himself, the situation was brought under control.
Asked about the danger lurking over his head, he came up with a prompt reply.
"Not the next Test (Trent Bridge) for sure," he quipped.
"Everything was fine in the last game (Lord's) that we played," he added.
Dhoni may have escaped sanction on this occasion, but his team has found it difficult to maintain the required over-rate for quite some time now.
The Indian bowlers were found wanting in the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town, in January. Same was the case during the second Test against the West Indies, in Barbados last month.
Image: Harbhajan Singh
'The over-rate has been an issue with us'
The ICC Code of Conduct clearly states that the captain of any team found guilty of slow over-rates on three occasions in a 12-month period faces a one-match ban.
For the moment, though it is momentary relief for Dhoni, the sword of Damocles will be hanging over his head throughout the series and thereafter.
While Dhoni did not mince words in acknowledging the same, he was hopeful of a long-term solution to the problem.
"It (the over-rate) has been an issue with us," he admitted. "We have to make sure that it doesn't happen again.
"Hopefully, everything will be okay in Trent Bridge as well."
Image: Sachin Tendulkar has a word with Mahendra Singh Dhoni