Sydney: A day after the BCCI intervened to ask India skipper MS Dhoni and Virender Sehwag to bury their differences and patch up, team's media manager GS Walia said there was 'no rift' but 'a misunderstanding'.
"There was no rift between Dhoni and Sehwag, It was only a misunderstanding. The team was concerned about reports of a rift. But all differences have been settled now," Walia said.
Walia, who came for the press conference which was to be addressed by Dhoni and Sehwag earlier, also said the players were positive and were looking forward to their must-win two matches in the CB Series.
The two players are expected to come for a joint presser on Saturday to clarify their statements.
Walia asked the media to move ahead and focus on the positives. "Let's not analyse the same situation, why this was generated, how it came to this. Let us forget it and be positive for the future," he said after the reporters asked about the dressing room atmosphere in the wake of BCCI's assertion that all was well within the unit.
Meanwhile, Irfan Pathan also claimed that there are no differences in the team. "Everyone is working hard. There is no difference of opinion in the team. I have been hearing things, but it's nothing like that. Things are pretty good. It's a matter of winning big games. Once we start winning the big games, these things are going to vanish," Pathan said.
The rumours of rift in the team became rife last week when Dhoni called the seniors, namely Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir, 'slow fielders'. "It's not only these three. There are quite a few other players who are also slow on the field. If you really add it up, you would have only two or three good fielders. These fielders are not bad but on these big fields, they are slightly on the slower side. They would be exploited once the ball goes to them, the Australians and Sri Lankans would look for those two or three runs to put pressure on their body. Their throwing and diving needs to be good," Dhoni had said.
It did not go down well Sehwag, who was leading the side against Sri Lanka in the next match as Dhoni was banned for one match due to slow-over rate and played all three seniors. He spoke at length that Dhoni never told them (that he was a slow fielder) that and his reason for the rotation policy was different from the version he gave them. "I did not know what he (Dhoni) said and what's going on in media. He told us he wanted to give chance to youngsters who had come here and play the next World Cup. That's what he told us," Sehwag said.
Sehwag even rejected the idea of him going to Dhoni and clearing the air. "Why should I have chat with him? He is the captain and leader. If he and coach think they need to give break to top order, I am okay with it, I have no problem with it," he said.
The BCCI, who initially rejected the reports of rift, quickly got into damage control mode. They read the riot act to Dhoni, Sehwag and the team. BCCI Secretary Sanjay Jagdale spoke to the players and asked them to patch up.
According to sources, Jagdale had a teleconference with Dhoni, Sehwag, Sachin and the team management on Thursday morning, asking them to end their differences over selection matters and play as a team in the two crucial games.
There were also media reports suggesting that the team manager Biswarup Dey convened a meeting at the team hotel (Sheraton On The Park) in Sydney, on Thursday afternoon, and made it clear that misunderstandings, if any, must be sorted out immediately. Besides Dey, Dhoni and Sehwag, senior-most pro Tendulkar, Gambhir and Walia were present in the meeting that lasted for around 20 minutes. It was also said that coach Duncan Fletcher was not a part of the meeting.
However, Walia denied any meeting ever took place. "All we had was the meeting among all 17 on the day of the match, after the game, after the press conference. When I went back to that place, I conveyed it to everyone. Everybody said, 'sir we don't have any differences'. I have been along with them for 75 days. But there shouldn't be a chance given to anybody, not only to you but anybody else to feel there is a communication gap. I have conveyed that to the players in simple terms," he said.
(With agency inputs)