BCCI bid to smoothen ruffled feathers in Team India

No rift, reiterates official as players trade barbs in front of media

The bitter stand-off between two of the most high-profile names in Indian cricket — Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virender Sehwag — reached crisis point in the last fortnight after they chose to trade blows through media conferences.

Now, a member of the support staff, perhaps at the behest of a big name in the Board of Control for Cricket in India, has initiated the process of peace-making, and a press conference is likely to be held on Friday to that effect.

“There is no rift (between Dhoni and Sehwag), so there’s no need of truce either,” he said. But his statement didn’t match the events of the last two weeks.

The ugly scenes began when opener Gautam Gambhir told media after India’s win over Australia at Adelaide that skipper Dhoni shouldn’t have let the finishing job till the last minute, and the Jharkhandi was, perhaps, waiting for someone else to take the responsibility.

Dhoni too didn’t hold back, and came up with his own version saying batsmen who had crossed fifty should try to finish the innings. Gambhir had made 92 against Australia, and got out with India needing another 92 runs to win the match.

But more serious issues unfolded in the subsequent days when Dhoni went ahead and stated that the rotation policy for seniors — Sachin Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gambhir — was adopted because they couldn’t be picked together, as such a move would have cost the team 20 extra runs on the field.

Dhoni termed the troika as safe but slow fielders, and even went to the extent of saying that Suresh Raina merited a place in the side because he was a better fielder than Sehwag.

The statement irked Sehwag who replied by saying the aforementioned trio had always been safe fielders, and they had been a part of the team when it won the World Cup. The Delhi Dasher added more fuel to the fire by saying the seniors were informed by Dhoni that the rotation policy was adopted to give more chances to the youngsters.

Amidst all this, the silence of coach Duncan Fletcher has been baffling. Fletcher has addressed the media only once (January 3 at Sydney) from the beginning of this tour. The differences between Dhoni and Sehwag was evident even in 2009 during the T20 World Cup, but Fletcher’s predecessor Gary Kirsten was successful in papering over the fissures during his tenure.

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