Sparks fly as Dhoni faces hostile media

Indian captain MS Dhoni faced a hostile media after news filtered in that Virender Sehwag will be out of the World T20.

updated: June 09, 2009 13:13 IST
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Trent Bridge, Nottingham:

High drama was witnessed at a press conference addressed by Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who faced a hostile media after news filtered in that his deputy Virender Sehwag will be out of the Twenty20 World Cup.

Asked about Sehwag's injury and why there was no update from the team management, he curtly said, "Whatever related to fitness, you will get it from the BCCI."

Asked why a captain should not provide the update, an irritated-looking Dhoni said, "I'm not going to say anything on that."

On whether he was aware of Sehwag's injury, Dhoni's cryptic reply was "yes, I am."

His comment ignited the fuse in a jam-packed room as the mediapersons strained to hear from official sources whether Sehwag was really out of the tournament.

The simmering issue boiled over once another question on Sehwag was aimed at team management and the reply, once again, was with a dead straight bat.

It was then a free-for-all with the media accusing the team management of making a selective leak and playing hide-and-seek on an issue which is the burning topic back home.

Dhoni, who is already upset with media for reporting a few days back that Sehwag and he were not on even terms, completely lost his cool when it was implied that the news about Sehwag being ruled out was leaked.

"You are blaming me for leaking the news... you have all gathered here. Then why doesn't one of you stand up and..." he said. Just then he was cut short and a journalist tried to pacify him by saying "no we are not (blaming you)".

In between, Dhoni made some serious noise about the importance of tomorrow's game against Ireland, a claim hardly borne out by the low turnout of his boys in a practice session at Lady Bay nets in the morning.

As many as five Indian cricketers -- Yusuf and Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Ravinder Jadeja and Yuvraj Singh -- were absent from the nets.

Dhoni generally was inclined to give ambivalent answers to questions and when somebody wanted his reasons for batting at number three, his reply, in just a word, was barely audible.

Sehwag is now all set to return home but the questions on his injury would continue to rumble, unsure as everyone is if the dashing opener knew about the extent of his injury before he left home.

Dhoni could have been hinting at Sehwag when earlier in the press conference he hoped there would be no injuries in the tournament.

"Hopefully we would not have more injuries in the tournanment. It's a short tournament but the intensity level is quite high. It's very demanding," he said.

Dhoni took the view that even a lapse of concentration for two overs can hurt a side deeply.

"If you are off the mark even for two overs, it can hurt you badly. One can never predict what happens in a Twenty20 game," he said.

The Indian skipper made it clear that his team will not take even a non-Test playing nation Ireland lightly on the way to their defence of title.

"Ireland are obviously a good side and will be full of confidence after beating Bangladesh. From our point of view, we just want to concentrate on executing our plans. No international match is easy. So there is no question of taking any team easy.

"I admit the intensity will not be as much as it was in the game against Bangladesh, but we are very serious about winning going into the Super Eights."

Dhoni expected Ireland to play aggressive cricket now that they have made it to the Super Eight stage.

"They have nothing to lose so they would be inclined to play more freely and aggressively," Dhoni said.

Ireland will be banking heavily on hard-hitter Kevin O' Brien but Dhoni wasn't inclined to put him in the same category as Yuvraj Singh.

"Yuvraj Singh is in a league of his own. I would say between Yuvraj and him (Kevin), there is a huge gap," Dhoni added.