New Delhi: The Indian Cricket Board had got into damage control mode on Friday, asking captain MS Dhoni and vice-captain Virender Sehwag to patch-up as the speculations of a rift between them became the most hotly debated news. However on Saturday, Dhoni, commenting on the rift rumours for the first time, denied there were any issues between him and Sehwag or anyone else in the team.
Here is what happened explained in ten points...
1. After the loss against Australia last Sunday, Dhoni explained why he did not play the three seniors (Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir) together. ""It might happen (they playing together, but) it would affect our fielding in a big way, it's not only these three, there are quite a few other players who are also slow on the field. If you really add it up, you would have only two or three good fielders. "These fielders are not bad but on these big fields, they are slightly on the slower side. They would be exploited once the ball goes to them, the Australians and Sri Lankans would look for those two or three runs to put pressure on their body. Their throwing and diving needs to be good," Dhoni said.
2. Captain MS Dhoni calling the senior players 'slow fielders' did not go down well Sehwag, who was leading the side against Sri Lanka in the next match as Dhoni was banned for a game due to slow over-rate and played all three seniors. He spoke at length that Dhoni never told them (that he was a slow fielder) that and his reason for the rotation policy was different from the version he gave them. "I did not know what he (Dhoni) said and what's going on in media. He told us he wanted to give chance to youngsters who had come here and (could) play the next World Cup. That's what he told us," said Sehwag.
3. Sehwag even rejected the idea of him going to Dhoni and clearing the air. "Why should I have chat with him? He is the captain and leader. If he and coach think they need to give break to top order, I am okay with it, I have no problem with it," he said.
4. The BCCI on Wednesday rejected that there was any rift in the team. Board President N Srinivasan said that he had checked with the media manager and he had nothing to be concerned about. "You have no knowledge of it. I don't think there is any rift in the team. There is nothing to be concerned about. They were responding to such questions in a press conference. It happens after every match. I have spoken to media manager there. I think the reports are exaggerated," he said.
5. However, on Thursday the BCCI read the riot act to Dhoni, Sehwag and the team. BCCI asked Secretary Sanjay Jagdale to do the clean-up act. Jagdale spoke to the players and asked them to patch up.
6. According to sources, Jagdale had a teleconference with Dhoni, Sehwag, Sachin and the team management on Thursday morning, asking them to end their differences over selection matters and play as a team in the upcoming two crucial games.
7. There were also media reports suggesting that the team manager Biswarup Dey convened a meeting at the team hotel (Sheraton On The Park) in Sydney, on Thursday afternoon, and made it clear that misunderstandings, if any, must be sorted out immediately. Besides Dey, Dhoni and Sehwag, senior-most pro Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and media manager G.S. Walia were present in the designated team room at the five-star property. The meeting lasted for "around 20 minutes."
8. Interestingly, coach Duncan Fletcher wasn't invited to the meeting.
9. On Friday, Walia addressed the media and said there was no rift in the team but a small miscommunication. He also said that the team was concerned about reports of a rift. He, however, assured that all differences have been settled and the players were looking forward to their two games ahead. (Read:No rift in Team India, just miscommunication, says media manager)
10. On Saturday, Dhoni denied there was any rift between him and Sehwag or anyone else in the team. "It has been perfect and we enjoy it when things like these (speculations about the rift) happen because it is the talk of the dressing room. We try to get the positive about it. It's half an hour of good talk in the dressing room because that's the best we can get out of it," said Dhoni.
In the ongoing Commonwealth Bank Tri-series, India are placed at the bottom of the points table with two games to go. India need to win both their matches against Sri Lanka and Australia to advance to the finals. India play Australia on February 26 and Sri Lanka on February 28.