A day after Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President N Srinivasan claimed there was no rift in the Indian team, reports suggest the board has roped in coach Duncan Fletcher to talk to the senior players and act as 'peace-maker'. This is another classic instance of the BCCI shooting itself in the foot with one of their volte-faces.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that there obviously is some kind of hostility between skipper MS Dhoni, vice-captain Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir; the role that Sachin Tendulkar has had to play in this entire drama is unclear, but there is every possibility that even the master batsman wouldn't have been too impressed with the Indian captain's recent statements regarding the seniors. For their part, Sehwag and Gambhir have both taken open digs at Dhoni as India's on-field woes Down Under have moved off it as well.
But what is most surprising is that Fletcher didn't see it fit to step in to stop these players from openly expressing their angst with each other. One can only imagine the fissures these squabbles have created in a team which is already short on confidence and morale as it has seen more failures than successes after winning the World Cup less than a year ago. The numerous humiliating overseas losses and instances of players washing dirty linen in public in the last 10 months have seen the euphoria of Dhoni lifting the World Cup gradually turn into a sordid nightmare for Indian cricket.
Fletcher should have had a word with Gambhir immediately after the southpaw said that India's win over Australia in the fourth match of the ongoing Commonwealth Bank Series shouldn't have been dragged into the last over, and should instead have been wrapped up by the 48th over. In response to this barb, Dhoni retorted in apparent reference to Gambhir that a 'set batsman' should take the responsibility of seeing the team home instead of putting the onus on others to do so. Ironically, as it turned out, it was Dhoni's mistake that led to Gambhir being run out in the tied match against Sri Lanka; and though the skipper admitted he messed up, India could have won the match had the opening batsman still been in the middle.
Dhoni then added further fuel to the fire when after India’s 110-run loss to Australia, he said Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gambhir were not playing every game because they are slow on the field and added they could break down fielding in the big grounds of Australia. The same logic apparently didn't apply in the Test series when Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman - two other senior players - were also in the side! This is yet another indication that something is amiss in the Indian camp.
To add further credence to that assumption, Sehwag then decided it was his turn to verbally attack Dhoni. Talking to reporters after India were defeated by Sri Lanka at Brisbane, Sehwag said the senior players had not been informed that their 'slow fielding' was an issue and added Dhoni had said the rotation policy has been put in place to ensure the youngsters in the team get a chance to bat on the Australian pitches with an eye on the 2015 World Cup. If one were to read between the lines, Sehwag was accusing Dhoni of not being truthful to the senior players on the actual need for a rotation policy.
Despite these hard-hitting allegations, Sehwag was at pains to deny that there was any rift in the team. "We are one unit and a happy unit. He (Dhoni) is the captain… He can say whatever he wants. He addresses the media, has been doing it for the last two years, and we are okay with it," he said.
The issue here is, if Sehwag was indeed okay with whatever Dhoni has to say to the media, he shouldn't have launched this verbal assault on his skipper in the public; not that it absolves the India captain for not being clear enough in his conversations with the senior players.
It is quite apparent the current world champions in the 50-over format are resembling a dysfunctional family and no one (the board, the captain, the coach or the senior players) has taken the initiative, at least in the public's perception, to either nip the problem in the bud or prevent the issue from spiralling out of control and into the public domain.
But, again, this shouldn't be surpirising because we are talking about a board that is more bothered about the money in its coffers and couldn't care less about reviewing the Indian team's humiliating whitewashes in Tests away from home against Australia and England. The BCCI also didn't blink twice before naming Rahul Dravid out of the blue in the one-day squad in England merely because he was the only in-form batsman in the Test series and hadn't officially announced his retirement from the 50-over format at the time. Dravid obviously knew what awaited him and took matters into his own hands as he announced his retirement from ODIs on the same day he was recalled for that format.
The BCCI was quite proactive in solving its row with Sahara India because it involved crores of rupees, and that's the basic intent of the Indian board instead of developing the game and showing responsibility towards its main stakeholders. Had the board and team management in Australia kept their eyes and ears open; this massive spill of bad blood in the public domain could have been averted, and India's embarrasment on the field wouldn't have spilled off it. It wouldn't surprise me if the BCCI is looking forward to the Indian Premier League and is assuming that once the glitzy money-making series gets underway, all that has happened to Indian cricket over the last 10 months can be brushed under the carpet and life can start anew.
If nobody else does so, the fans owe it to themselves and to Indian cricket, to ensure the humiliating losses in England and Australia as well as the verbal spats between the senior players aren't forgotten in a hurry and corrective action to restore some glory to the national team, are put into place sooner rather than later.
BCCI shoots itself in the foot .... again!
The numerous humiliating overseas losses and instances of players washing dirty linen in public in the last 10 months have seen the euphoria of Dhoni lifting the World Cup gradually turn into a sordid nightmare for Indian cricket.By Akshay Iyer | Yahoo! Cricket – Thu 23 Feb, 2012 8:04 PM IST
- No live matches are in progress.
MORE TOP STORIES TODAY
[ROUND-UP] The CSK team owner was taken into custody after interrogation. More » Meiyappan arrested, CSK face termination
The other finalists, Chennai Super Kings, are in grave danger of a dishonourable exit. More » Who will Mumbai play in the final?
Camp Srinivasan lacks a moral compass and a sense of fairplay. It is time Srinivasan resigned from his his positions as an administrator in Indian cricket. More » Evidence that Meiyappan is the Chennai team owner
What I wonder now, amidst these ruins, is this: how do I watch a cricket match again? More » [COMMENTS:] Paradise Lost
Understanding the fragility of the world's top players and the human element of the game have been the cornerstone of Gary Kirsten's approach to coaching international cricket teams. The 45-year-old heads … More » Interview: It's all in the mind for South African Kirsten
MUMBAI, May 24, 2013 (AFP) - Police said Friday they were "investigating all the angles" in the Indian spot-fixing scandal but refused to confirm if they were targeting top Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf. More » Police refuse to confirm they are investigating Rauf
New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) Having pulled out its franchise Pune Warriors from the Indian Premier League (IPL), Sahara chief Subrata Roy fired another salvo saying he would immediately stop sponsoring the … More » Subrata Roy wants Srinivasan out
LEEDS, United Kingdom, May 24, 2013 (AFP) - Rain meant there was no play on the first day of the second and final Test between England and New Zealand at Headingley on Friday. More » Eng-NZ: Rain plays spoilsport on Day 1
PepsiCo didn't confirm or deny if it was considering invoking a clause to look at a possible exit from its title sponsorship. More » Spot fixing: Pepsi mulls pulling out of IPL
Three Chennai Super Kings players, one of them quite senior, were in touch with Vindoo Dara Singh during the ongoing T20 season. More » Three Chennai players 'linked' to probe
[SPOT-FIXING ROUND-UP]: Meiyappan finally surfaces | Rauf dropped from ICC event More » Rauf dropped from Champions Trophy
Pakistan could manage only a tie in the first ODI against Ireland at a bitterly cold Clontarf after Kevin O'Brien hit the last ball of the match for four. More » Kevin gives Ireland thrilling tie with Pak
Rajasthan Royals skipper Rahul Dravid said dealing with the spot-fixing allegations surrounding his team in the IPL has been one of the toughest phases of his career. More » 'Dealing with spot-fixing has been tough'
Australian Test batsman David Warner has said that the Indian players caught in the IPL spot-fixing scandal should be banned from cricket. More » Warner calls for ban on IPL spot-fixers
Misbah ul-Haq has told his Pakistan team they must improve in all three departments ahead of Sunday's series decider with Ireland. More » All-round improvement needed: Misbah
Akhtar said that he doesn’t understand why Pakistani officials — umpires and coaching staff — are welcome in IPL while players have been kept out. More » Akhtar appalled by double standards
Cook believes Headingley will be far from the bowling-friendly ground of old when the second Test against New Zealand starts at Yorkshire's headquarters on Friday. More » Cook expects hard work at Headingley
Sunrisers Hyderabad came up short against Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator here but their inaugural Indian Premier League campaign was a successful one, their captain Cameron White has said. More » 'Sunrisers can be proud of their effort'
Thanks to the format of the IPL, Mumbai Indians still have a chance to qualify for the final. More » Mumbai look to make most of second chance
Rajasthan Royals skipper Rahul Dravid hinted at retiring from the Indian Premier League (IPL) after this season. More » Dravid to hang up gloves for good?
He was ruled out after doubts over his ability to last a five-day match. More » Vettori out of second Test against England
Arrested Rajasthan Royals player Ajit Chandila had received Rs.12 lakh for spot fixing in IPL 2012 matches, Delhi Police said Thursday. More » Chandila spot fixed in 2012 IPL: Police
England captain Alastair Cook found himself being quizzed about the star batsman in Leeds on the eve of the second Test against New Zealand at Headingley. More » Absent KP puts pressure on England
Delhi Police contacted their counterparts in Mumbai seeking details about the articles seized from the hotel where Sreesanth stayed, said a police official. More » Delhi Police seek details of seizures
Result: embarrassment in one dressing room, and one set of flabbergasted bookies. More » A T20 match both teams wanted to lose
He facilitated others in Bollywood in placing bets with bookies he knew. More » Vindoo spills the beans on Bollywood
Royals will meet Mumbai Indian in the second qualifier. More » Hodge blinder floors Sunrisers
On the eve of the last edition of the Champions Trophy, set to begin within a week in England, Indian cricket is again mired in the fixing controversy. More » Will 'Champions' win back the fans?
Decision will save the Sahara Group a lot of money. More » Pune withdrawal a smart business move
Sachin Tendulkar will not take further part in the Indian Premier League owing to an injury on his left hand, his team Mumbai Indians said Wednesday. More » Tendulkar out of IPL with hand injury
David Warner regretted not keeping a lid on his outrage but maintained he had to defend himself after his image was used in a report condemning the IPL. More » Warner defends self for Twitter rant
Sports minister Jitendra Singh, however, wants that there should be certain minimum level of transparency and accountability that federations like the Indian cricket board need to ensure. More » Government wants BCCI to be transparent
Was Sreesanth planning to start betting houses in India and abroad? More » Revealed: Sreesanth's betting company
The BCCI blamed Sahara Adventure Sports Limited for the failure of the arbitration and said it "cannot be held responsible" for the breakdown of the process. More » Sahara to blame for arbitration failure
New Zealand's Daniel Vettori is on the verge of making a dramatic return to Test cricket as the Black Caps bid for a series-levelling win against England at Headingley. More » Vettori set for dramatic Test recall
England will look to seal a series win over New Zealand in the second and final test starting at Headingley on Friday before turning their attention to Australia in July. More » England eye NZ Test series win
Usman Khawaja says he is desperate to emerge from the periphery and consolidate a regular spot in the Australian team for this year's Ashes series against England. More » Khawaja looks to nail down Test spot
Coach Stephen Fleming credited his Chennai Super Kings' success to correct team selection and the loyalty the franchise has shown to the players. More » 'Selection key to Chennai's success'
It is his role in keeping some dubious cricketers suspected of match fixing outside the team. More » The feat Sachin never got praise for
New Zealand's Neil Wagner said Wednesday he wanted to make England's batsmen "hate him" and "get in their face" as the Black Caps look to square the Test series with victory at Headingley. More » Wagner wants England to 'hate him'
Joe Root said England would look to carry on from where they left off against New Zealand at Lord's during the second Test at his Headingley home ground. More » 'England can build on Lord's success'
Australian batsman David Warner was Wednesday found guilty of breaching Cricket Australia's code of behaviour over a Twitter tirade at two journalists and fined Aus$5,750 (US$5,608). More » David Warner fined for Twitter outburst
Chennai defeat Mumbai by 48 runs in the first Qualifier at Kotla. More » Kings boss their way to fifth IPL final
LEEDS, United Kingdom, May 22, 2013 (AFP) - New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling was ruled out Wednesday of the second and final Test against England at Headingley starting Friday. More » New Zealand's Watling out of second Test
COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka left-arm fast bowler Chanaka Welegedara has been ruled out of the Champions Trophy starting in England and Wales next month with an ankle injury. Welegedara will be replaced … More » Welegedara out of Champions Trophy
By Nick Mulvenney SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia are rightly underdogs for the upcoming Ashes series in England but will do everything they can to bring the coveted urn back home, skipper Michael Clarke … More » Underdogs ready for Ashes scrap: Clarke
New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Pune Warriors India, owned by Sahara India Pariwar, pulled out of the already scandal-hit Indian Premier League (IPL) Tuesday and announced that they will not renew their sponsorship … More » Sahara pulls out of IPL
India's apex court asks the Board to clean up the gentleman's game. More » Supreme Court raps 'lackadaisical' BCCI
One of the SunRisers' key bowlers, Ishant was nowhere to be seen and team officials said he was still down with fever. More » Ishant doubtful for win-or-go home clash
Starting off as the team's first-choice wicketkeeper, a string of poor performances with the bat saw Patel being dropped. More » Parthiv glad to have peaked at right time