MS Dhoni can rest a little more peacefully, literally and otherwise. There will be no more parties in IPL IV and the Indian cricket board is not really upset over his remarks in St. Lucia.
BCCI spokesperson Rajiv Shukla told HT on Thursday that the controversial ‘IPL Nites’ parties, the rights for which had been sold by suspended chairman Lalit Modi to Karbonn Mobiles to be shown on MTV would definitely be stopped.
“It had unfortunately been made mandatory for players to attend some of these parties, something the rest of us discovered later. At the governing council meeting, we also felt that this was something that the franchise had rights over, so why should the BCCI or IPL have gotten involved in it at all,” Shukla told Hindustan Times.
Shukla also said that Dhoni was not in trouble for speaking his mind. “If you had seen the whole press conference, you would realise that all Dhoni was doing was advising players to focus on their health. He was not making a comment on the BCCI or the IPL, he was talking to his players on how to approach matters.”
And Shukla felt there was a need for this. “It’s different with senior players, be it a Yuvraj or a Harbhajan, they have an idea on how to conduct themselves at parties. But frankly, it was shocking to see how smitten some of the under-19 and under-22 boys were. Boozing, dancing, smoking till 4am…”
Top BCCI sources though didn’t confirm reports that coach Gary Kirsten will be filing a report blaming lack of fitness of key senior players. He along with tour manager Ranjib Biswal will file a tour report, on the basis of which BCCI will decide its course of action. Shukla though told Hindustan Times that there is unlikely to be any drastic action against any player; the stress will be on improving performance, he said.
But what of players playing high-pressure cricket “200 days in a year”? Shukla said they would be allowed rest if they were tired, mentally or physically, carrying injury, or feeling they would aggravate an injury if they went ahead and played.
When it was pointed out that some India players were worried that they would “lose places” in the team if they voluntarily took a break, he said then they were talking “rubbish”.
“Top to bottom, great or a newcomer, any player, if he’s feeling tired and feeling he can't give 100 per cent needs to tell us that and it will not be held against him. And players have got to realise that if someone in this situation goes and under-performs because of the added strain, it will reflect as much on his individual record as the team’s overall. And that would not be good,” he said.
He said requests from players who needed time out, whether they were a Sachin Tendulkar needing time off or an Ashish Nehra, who had struggled with injury before coming back, were always entertained.
“Nehra is probably the most glaring example of someone who was out for a couple of years, got himself fit and then came back. If you’re good, you're in the reckoning,” he explained.
In any case, next year, there might be no time even to party, with the number of games going up from 60 to 94.