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One for all, all for one

cricket Updated: Jun 06, 2009 00:40 IST
Arjun Sen
Arjun Sen
Hindustan Times
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It was supposed to be one of those run-of-the-mill pre-match press conferences, one where the captain talks about the opposition, the pitch, team composition, et al. Except that, it wasn't.

On a cloudy Friday morning here, Mahendra Singh Dhoni led the entire 15-member Indian squad out to the press conference ahead of their game against Bangladesh and read out a 19-line note to the media, the emphasis of it being on the team being unified and confident despite the news of a rift.

This rather unique show of unity by Dhoni and his team comes in the wake of reports that Dhoni and Sehwag had had an ugly face-off in the run-up to the tournament which led to the Delhi opener losing his place in the XI.

"This message is for the people of India, and for Indian cricket fans worldwide, and comes from the whole team," Dhoni read.

"That's why we are all here. As we prepare for the World Twenty20, we are a superbly unified team. The team spirit is good as it has ever been, with each individual supporting each other, both on and off the field.

“Recent reports in the Indian media of a rift between myself and Sehwag amount to nothing but false and irresponsible media.

“Our fans and supporters can take confidence from the wonderful unity that continues to exist in this team. We thank our fans for their continued support and look forward to entertaining you during this tournament, which we go into well prepared, unified as Team India and confident. Thank you.”

Obviously unhappy with the stories of a divided team, the Indian skipper led his team out of the room as soon as he finished reading the note out, without answering any questions.

The other protagonist in this drama, Sehwag, stood second from the right of Dhoni, seemingly unperturbed by the many stories doing the rounds.

Coach Kirsten explains the move:

I think the media has an important role to play, and we all understand that. The media have a responsibility in sending out a message to the Indian people. And we have a responsibility to show how unified we are. We wanted to show the Indian people that there was nothing wrong just because certain sections of the media think there is.

On whose decision it was

It was a collective decision of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the team and the management.