NEW DELHI (AFP) - Former India captains Anil Kumble and Gundappa Viswanath on Monday praised Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to recall England's Ian Bell during the ongoing Trent Bridge Test.
Bell was run out on 137 off the last ball before tea on Sunday's third day of the second Test.
Having completed three runs with Eoin Morgan after Praveen Kumar's misfield, Bell headed off the field believing the ball had gone for four and was consequently "dead".
In fact, it was still "live" and a stunned Bell was eventually given out.
England coach Andy Flower and captain Andrew Strauss went to the visitors' dressing room at tea to ask them to reconsider the appeal. Towards the end of the interval, India reinstated Bell, who went on to make 159.
"For me, spirit of the game is of paramount importance rather than winning or losing a Test match," Viswanath was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.
"Obviously, as a captain you play hard to win a match. But there are times when it's your inner call that tells you what is right. I really appreciate Dhoni's decision to call Bell back."
The incident revived memories of a 1980 Test in Mumbai when Viswanath recalled England's Bob Taylor after the the wicket-keeper was given out caught behind.
Kumble, Test cricket's third-highest wicket-taker with 619 scalps, said he was proud of the team for playing the game in the right spirit.
"I think at the end of it, you are playing a sport and you have to take a call on whether the game is bigger than an individual and I think that is what Dhoni did," Kumble told the CNN-IBN channel.
Indian sports minister Ajay Maken also praised Dhoni, saying the country was proud of the captain.
"Proud of you Dhoni," Maken said. "Spirit of the game is more important than the result. Win the hearts and you will win the game too."