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Show of unity turns spotlight on India

Dhoni's decision to go public with the 'we are one' theme might have put the already under-pressure Indians under a lot more. Arjun Sen reports.

cricket Updated: Jun 07, 2009 03:04 IST
Arjun Sen

It was - in many ways - the perfect riposte to accusations of a house divided. The unprecedented show of unity orchestrated by Mahendra Singh Dhoni at Trent Bridge on Friday might have grabbed the headlines and a rather heartfelt plea of not creating imaginary rifts, might have even kept the hounding media at bay for a while, but not without its perils.

Dhoni's decision to go public with the 'we are one' theme might have put the already under-pressure Indians under a lot more. Their captain has bought his players some time away from the ever-intrusive cameras, but the team knows that a false start or an off day will only lend credence to talk of all not being well with the team. A rather dangerous tightrope.

Take Rohit Sharma for instance, possibly in his best ever form, the Mumbai batsman has made the transformation to an opener without a hitch.

With all that has happened in the past 48 hours, Rohit knows he has to justify the faith his captain has shown in him and score big in every match he bats at the top. Hardly the kind of pressure you'd want to be in.

It will be a similar case for Sehwag, too.

It hasn't been a good summer for the Delhi skipper so far. He hardly looked himself in the IPL and has been in the news here for everything apart from cricket. If and when Sehwag is finally fit to play, he will, in all probability, replace Rohit at the top knowing he has to get back to form almost from the first ball he faces in this tournament.

It obviously must have hurt Dhoni and the team as a whole for them to do what they did. It was certainly not the first time there have been reports of a rift in Indian teams.

But for Dhoni, who has built this team in his own image, talk of camps and rifts was a hark back to the past. A past where Indian teams were not quite the oasis of calm and success as this one so often is. A past where the focus, ever so quickly, would shift from the cricket to the cliques. He wasn't having any of it.