Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni Monday won the Spirit of Cricket Award 2011 at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Awards here for allowing England batsman Ian Bell to continue batting after he was run out in controversial circumstances during the Trent Bridge Test in July.
On what was the last ball before tea on the third day, Bell hit the ball towards the boundary. He mistakenly thought it had gone for four, left his crease and headed towards the pavilion assuming the session was over and the ball was dead. Meanwhile the ball, which had not reached the rope and, therefore, was still in play, was returned to the middle, the bails removed and Bell was correctly given run out.
Upon reflection during the tea interval and following a request from the England team, Dhoni withdrew the appeal and recalled Bell, thus turning boos into cheers from the appreciative Nottingham crowd.
"While the initial appeal and umpire's decision were correct to the letter of the law, the decision by Mahendra and his team to withdraw the appeal shows great maturity. To see players and officials uphold the Great Spirit of cricket, which has underpinned the game for more than a century, is very special," said ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat.
The award is voted by the members of the Elite Panels of ICC Match Referees and Umpires. Dhoni's gesture was voted as the winner ahead of that of South Africa's Jacques Kallis, who twice demonstrated such spirit during the 2011 World Cup by walking once he had clarified with opposition fielders directly that they had caught the ball cleanly rather than waiting for the umpires to decide.
The ICC Awards ceremony is now in its eighth year. Previous ceremonies were held in London (2004), Sydney (2005), Mumbai (2006), Johannesburg (2007 and 2009), Dubai (2008) and Bangalore (2010).