Team India skipper M S Dhoni,ahead of the Champions Trophy departure,has maintained his silence over the IPL spot-fixing scandal despite being prodded time and again by the gathered mediamen today.
However,Dhoni refused to answer even a single question as the BCCI officials surrounding him kept intervening whenever a question was asked on the scandal.
A slightly smiling Dhoni allowed the officials to have their way,in effect agreeing to the unannounced gag order that has been imposed on him – he has assiduously avoided mentioning the scandal despite it emerging as the biggest threat to the game itself.
One persistent reporter asked Dhoni why he was refusing to speak at all on the biggest scandal that has hit India from the turn of the century and that the Indian cricket fans deserved and were justifiably expecting a reaction from the captain of Team India.
However,Dhoni kept his mouth shut and allowed the officials to dominate the proceedings.
Also,some pointed questions on his relationship with Vindoo Dara Singh,who was arrested for his role in the fixing scandal,went unanswered as Dhoni refused to be drawn – photos of Vindoo and Dhoni’s wife Sakshi,that were prominently splashed across newsmedia,indicated that the family of the Indian skipper had some link with the actor.
Another question that was put forward to Dhoni was how difficult it will be for him and the team to instil faith in the cricket loving people that everything would be “fair” during Champions Trophy. All Dhoni could manage was a chuckle.
Since Sreesanth,one of the most high-profile cricketers to be arrested in the scandal,has played for Team India under Dhoni,expectations were for the Indian skipper to mouth his outrage. However,the concerted effort by BCCI officials ensured no answers were available.
The press conference happened only because of the obligations of the BCCI for the Champions Trophy tournament.
We have got good mix in fast bowling department: Dhoni
Dhoni said they have got the “right mix” in the fast bowling department that could exploit the seamer-friendly conditions during the Champions Trophy in England.
Bhuvaneshvar Kumar has impressed in a few opportunities he has got to play for the country. Umesh Yadav has regained fitness and Ishant Sharma did well for his side Sunrisers Hyderabad during the just-concluded IPL.
The trio will have a crucial role to play in the favourable conditions in England.
“When it comes to the fast bowling department,there are people who can exploit the conditions. Someone like Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) can swing the ball,there is Umesh (Yadav) who has pace. It’s a good department,” Dhoni told reporters here today.
The team is leaving for England later tonight for the June 6-23 tournament.
“They need to adjust to the new (ODI) rules. it’s important how quickly they adjust to the length and bowl in the right areas. We have got the right mix,” he added.
The India skipper indicated that the team was free of injuries.
“There is no official report from the physio so it’s a good sign.”
India are clubbed with Pakistan,South Africa and the West Indies in group B,but it is the match against the arch-rival on June 15 that is most eagerly awaited.
“Both sides are balanced,(Saeed) Ajmal is a mystery bowler,we need to figure him out,” Dhoni said.
“Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan have done well in Tests,ODIs is different but as (coach) Duncan (Fletcher) said,it’s a good opportunity for them to capitalise.”
Talking about modifications in ODI rules,Dhoni said,”There are a few challenges,especially with the rule changes in ODIs. It will be the first time we will be playing outside the sub-continent after the rule change.”
And about the tournament,he said,”We have never won a Champions Trophy,this is a good opportunity for us,the tournament is being played for the last time so this is our last opportunity.”
India and Sri Lanka were joint winners in 2002 when rain had washed out the summit clash.
“We have got a balanced side. We will have a lot of time to prepare ourselves… there are also two warm-up matches.
“Lot depends on the conditions. It’s a good platform for youngsters to prove themselves in international level,there are few places up for grabs. Everything looking good now,there are lot of time in between the three matches in the league stage.
Asked about the team’s last tour of England where India lost all the ODIs after being whitewashed in the Test series,he said,”The last time in England we didn’t do well in the Test series,but in the ODIs we were decent,rain was a big factor and then losing all the tosses… it was difficult for the spinners to use the wet ball.”
With PTI inputs