Nagpur: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was on Saturday slapped with a two ODI ban for slow over-rate during the second cricket one-dayer against Sri Lanka here, dealing a huge blow to the home team’s prospects in the ongoing five-match series.
International Cricket Council’s match referee Jeff Crowe imposed an immediate two match suspension on Dhoni for slow over-rate after conducting a hearing last night.
In the absence of Dhoni, dashing opener Virender Sehwag has been named the captain for the next two one-dayers in Cuttack on 21 December and Kolkata on 24 December.
“ICC match referee, Jeff Crowe, has imposed an immediate two match suspension on M S Dhoni for slow over-rate after conducting a hearing last night,” the BCCI said in a statement.
The Indian players have been penalised 40% of their match fees.
“The Indian team for the next two ODIs will be led by Virender Sehwag,” the brief statement added.
The thrilling second one-dayer ended about 45 minutes after the scheduled finish time because of frequent discussions between the Indian players during the closing stages of Sri Lanka’s chase.
The decision to ban Dhoni was taken by match referee Crowe of New Zealand, considering the quantum of extra time the Indians took to complete their alloted overs.
Tamil Nadu wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik, who featured in India’s Twenty20 squad against the Lankans, is to be inducted in the team as a replacement for the charismatic Dhoni.
The five-match series is currently tied 1-1 after India won the first match in Rajkot by three runs, while the Sri Lankans snatched a thrilling three wicket victory in the second game here on Friday.
Dhoni’s unavailability will be a big setback for the Indians as he has been in great touch in the recent series against the islanders, scoring 72 and 107 in two matches played so far.
With flamboyant middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh being a doubtful starter as he is still recovering from a finger injury and flu, the Indian batting will be weaker in the next two games.
The ICC is yet to make an official announcement under what clauses Dhoni had been banned.
“Once we get a detailed report from the match referee Jeff Crowe we will issue a statement giving all the details,” an ICC spokesman told PTI from Dubai.