Mahendra Singh Dhoni's candour has won him many fans over the years. The latest in the ever-increasing list is legendary umpire Dickie Bird, who has come out in support of the Indian captain for his controversial comments at the end of the Jamaica Test. Quizzed about the poor umpiring decisions in the post-match press briefing, Dhoni said on Thursday: "If the correct decisions were made, the game would have finished much earlier and I would have been in the hotel by now."
The International Cricket Council (ICC) stipulates that criticising officials could lead to a reprimand, if not a fine. Dhoni didn't name the umpire (Australia's Daryl Harper) but it won't be off the mark to say he did breach ICC's legislation.
Bird supported Dhoni's decision to attack the umpiring. "Captains are entitled to pass opinions on umpires -- it is healthy for the sport. I don't see anything wrong in them judging us (umpires)," the Yorkshireman told MiD DAY over telephone on Friday.
"Why should he be penalised?" asked Bird. "In years gone by, captains used to openly criticise umpiring decisions - we used to take it sportingly. These days, the match referee steps in, and that's something I am against."
Bird said ICC must consider returning to the age-old system of umpires standing in a game between the tourists and a county side. "In my era, we used to have a county match against tourists before the Test series started.
"That way, the captain could judge us and pass opinions to us before the start of a series. Most of us joined players at the nets too - that doesn't happen so much nowadays. I don't think there was any harm in that. That system worked brilliantly, ensured players were comfortable with an umpire," said Bird.
The 78-year-old is no fan of the UDRS. "Use of technology is good for certain tough decisions, but it must not take over the game. "We wouldn't require umpires any longer if more and more technology enters the game," he said.