India are apparently not serious about dousing the simmering feud between skipper MS Dhoni and the trio of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar.
Had the intention been of damage control, the team would have sent some authoritative member — either the captain, the coach or some other senior member — to address the issue and the media on the sidelines of India’s training on Friday.
Instead, India's media manager GS Walia turned up to try and send out an all-is-well message. While he tried as hard as he possibly could to suggest there was “no miscommunication” within team, he eventually ended up admitting the difference of opinions between the captain and the three seniors.
“When we went back to the dressing room along with Sehwag after Tuesday’s loss, I told everybody ‘it’s not a small thing. The nation must know what is happening here. You are the medium through which the information is passed on to the whole nation.’ I conveyed this to them immediately, in exactly the same terms. They all told me ‘there are no differences, and if we see any such situation in the future, we will try to avoid that’.”
Though HT confirmed that the BCCI bigwigs — president N Srinivasan and secretary Sanjay Jagdale — had stepped in on Wednesday, asking Walia and coach Duncan Fletcher to sort out the issues, Walia came up with a bizarre explanation when asked about it.
Asked if he would convey it to the BCCI bosses that no player had been “misquoted” or the issue wasn't “exaggerated”, as was being explained by the BCCI officials back home, Walia said, “That's why I am saying let’s not analyse it. Let us be positive about the future. If the president has said it, it may be his views. But I have never said it. I have never blamed the media.” Walia, though, clarified there had been no meeting between Dhoni, Sehwag, Tendulkar and Gambhir on Thursday.
All said and done, Walia ended up leaving the issue as complicated as it was, if not making it worse. The attempt to sort it out resulted in a complete disaster. That again raises the question why the BCCI can’t employ a professional manager and media manager, instead of having members from their loyalist associations doing the job in a shoddy manner.
With skipper Dhoni set to address the media on Saturday ahead of the must-win tie against Australia, one could hope for more reasonable answers.