x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Ian Bell admits 'it was an honest mistake to walk off for tea'

Rahul Dravid says it was a unanimous decision to recall the batsman as the spirit of the game is restored.

NOTTINGHAM // Ian Bell revealed he was one of four England players padded up ready to bat after tea on day three of the second Test, which eventually culminated with him being reinstated at the crease by the India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The Warwickshire batsman had been dismissed on the stroke of the tea in bizarre circumstances, when he was given run out after apparently leaving his ground to walk off for the break.
Dhoni was apparently offered the chance to withdraw India's appeal twice for Bell's wicket twice while his side were still on the field and awaiting the verdict of the TV official.
However, it took an approach from England's management, as well as an India team meeting which lasted almost the full duration of the break, before Bell was offered a second chance.
"I think the end result was the right one in terms of the spirit of the game, but it was naive on my part to assume the ball was dead," Bell, who made a brilliant 159 to leave England in a position of power, said.
"As the rules stand I should have been given out, but it was an honest mistake to walk off for tea. It was a strange situation."
Bell acknowledged England had made a mistake in a similar situation, when they maintained their appeal against Grant Elliott, a New Zealand batsman, in a one-day international in 2008.
As such he appreciated the fact India had acted in the spirit of the game, even though he should by rights have been given out according to the laws of the game.
Haroon Lorgat, the chief executive of the International Cricket Council, applauded the Indian side for their actions, as he said.
"While the initial appeal and umpire decision may have been acceptable to the letter of the law, the decision by India captain MS Dhoni and his team - as well as the Team India coaching staff - to withdraw the appeal shows great maturity," Lorgat said.
"To see players and officials uphold the great spirit of cricket, which has underpinned the game for more than a century, is very special."
Rahul Dravid, India's first-innings centurion, said his teammates were unanimous in their decision to recall Bell.
"In terms of the spirit of the game, it didn't feel right," Dravid said. "It was definitely one of the themes we discussed: what if it happened to one of ours guys?
"What if it had been Sachin [Tendulkar] or [VVS] Laxman? It would have left a bitter feeling in our stomach."
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