Two captains hit the headlines for being participants in fractious misdemeanors on the field.
Both have been punished for their transgressions.
The Indian ODI and T20 skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni collided with Bangladeshi fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman during the first one-day in Mirpur. Dhoni was docked 75% of his match fee and Mustafizur 50% of his.
At the Copa America in a crucial group encounter against Colombia, Brazilian star forward Neymar laid into his nemesis Camilo Zuniga for being physical with him.
“Camilo! Camilo! Thanks a lot! Bet you’ll call me after to say sorry. Son of a b****.”
Zuniga was the man who knocked the Selecao skipper out of the 2014 World Cup with an ill-advised tackle that could have crippled Neymar prematurely ending his soccer career.
Brazil succumbed 0-1 in an ill-tempered game and Neymar vented his frustration by aiming a headbutt at at goal-scorer Jeison Murillo when the match ended.
Neymar has been provisionally suspended and received a red card for his trouble.
Violence and bad behavior have always been a part of sport. More so, professional sport.
No one likes losing. And particularly so no one likes losing after giving what they believe to be their best. Let none tell you otherwise.
More so when it is what they do for a living.
And the perceived injustice is worse when the gladiators feel that they are not in control.
That certainly seems to be case with Neymar with the star forward lashing out at the standard of refereeing in the ballgame.
“They have to use the rules against me. The ball hit me on the hand without any intention and I got a yellow. That’s what happens when you have a weak referee. I only lose my rag when officials don’t do their jobs. There was a melee, but he didn’t need to send everyone off.”
MS Dhoni, on the other hand, is the epitome of cool. He is said to have nerves of steel.
That the Indian skipper was party to an unsavory incident where he appears to be the aggressor is strange indeed.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Mustafizur Rahman were found guilty under Article 2.2.4 of the ICC Code of Conduct, which penalizes “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play during an international match“.
Match referee Andy Pycroft said:
“In the hearing, Dhoni defended the charge on the basis that the bowler was on the wrong line and realising that he couldn’t avoid the collision, he used his hand and arm to push him away as he went through to ‘minimise the impact. However, my assessment was that Dhoni deliberately pushed and shouldered Mustafizur, which was inappropriate.
Even if there was a narrow gap between the runner [Raina] and the bowler, an experienced Dhoni should have tried to avoid the collision as cricket is a non-contact sport and the players are expected to avoid physical contact at all times. On this basis, I fined Dhoni 75% of his match fee”.
Dhoni’s experience was a crucial factor in the adverse decision. His adversary, on the other hand, was making his debut.
“The bowler (Mustafizur) thought I would move away while I thought he would. But as none of us did, we collided. This can happen in any match. It’s nothing big. I spoke to him later.”
The Indian skipper’s explanation is specious.
Some sections of the media believe that Virat Kohli should be handed over the reins in all formats of the game. Mohinder Amarnath, in particular, believes that Kohli brings a refreshing approach to the game and it is time a young Indian side are led by one of their own.
Is the pressure telling on the man from Jharkhand?
Or is this a mere aberration?
Time, and results, will tell.