Indians put on brave face amidst storm at home

 The sweeping changes proposed by the Supreme Court with regard to the functioning of the Board of Control for Cricket in India couldn’t have come at a more critical time for the Indian cricket team, currently engaged in the World T20 campaign.

With back-to-back wins and seemingly on their way to their first semifinal appearance in four editions, the Indian team has been rocked by a series of observations by the country’s apex court – first against Board president N Srinivasan on Tuesday and then with regard to the Indian Premier League on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the team enjoyed a session in the pool, openly expressing their solidarity in times of ‘crisis.’ After a break of two days following their second win against West Indies on Sunday, the Indian players went through their first practice session on Wednesday, again betraying few signs of a team in ‘turmoil.’

“No, not really,” Rohit Sharma said on Thursday when asked if the happenings back home could have any effect on the team’s performance. The pre-match press do, though, had begun with the team’s media manager Dr RN Baba instructing that questions not related to World T20 will not be entertained. “It’s important to focus (on the task). We have got a big job on hand right now. When we came here, we were very determined to win this tournament and we’re definitely on our way to doing that. We’ve won two out of two. At the moment, the focus is on tomorrow’s game (against Bangladesh),” the opener remarked while adding that there was no discussion related to the T20 league among the players.

Indeed, MS Dhoni and company appeared in great spirits during their near three-hour training session here at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium on Thursday. The customary football session was marked by the usual leg-pulling and banter among players while the ‘nets’ were as intense as ever. The focus obviously was on players who are part of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals – the teams that the SC wants out of the forthcoming IPL.

The officials and players of CSK, a franchise owned by Srinivasan’s India Cements, and Royals are under investigation for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing and betting during IPL 6. Between the two teams, there are seven players that are currently part of the Indian squad here, including skipper Dhoni who is also the captain of CSK. Besides the Jharkhand man, the other key members are R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina all of whom are an integral part of the Indian 11 and all four players had been retained by CSK ahead of the recent IPL auction in Bangalore. Pacer Mohit Sharma, who has been warming the bench so far, was bought back by the Chennai side. All-rounder Stuart Binny and Ajinkya Rahane, who are yet to get a match here, were retained by Royals.
 
With their chances of playing IPL-7 -- if the tournament faces no further obstacle and goes on as scheduled -- in serious doubt, the seven may not have been in the best of mental shapes but if they indeed weren’t, they did a great job of hiding it.

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