It doesn't look or sound good if the captain and vice-captain of a team give contrasting replies to similar queries, in the space of just 24 hours. Anil Kumble on Wednesday and MS Dhoni on Tuesday, had different takes on how the absence of certain seniors (read Sourav Ganguly) in the ODI squad might affect the team ahead of the crucial fourth Test beginning here on Thursday.
Dhoni, also the one-day skipper, seemed nonchalant and dismissed the issue saying it had “affected journalists more than the team”. Kumble, himself unceremoniously shunted from the ODI team in the past, used his words carefully, but made his point. “I know it's disappointing to be dropped, I've been through that experience. It's not ideal to have such things in the middle of a series, but it's something you can't say anything about.”
Sources say the team is worried about whether the fact that Dhoni reportedly indicated to the selectors that he wanted the seniors rested would cause friction. But Kumble insisted the seniors would take it on the chin. “We look at it as a challenge, not a distraction. Those who haven't made the ODI squad have played enough to understand how important this Test is and how important it is to concentrate on this game.”
There is obviously unease within the team over the one-day selections. For Dhoni to dismiss that completely (even if he didn't ask for the changes), smacks of immaturity and a disregard for the feelings of players who have done things he has yet to achieve.
There are still five days of this crucial final Test left. Dhoni would do well to take some tips from Kumble and the other former skippers who will return to India thereafter, on how to handle tough situations with grace.