By Lokendra Pratap Sahi
Calcutta (The Telegraph): The bad blood is out in the open. And, this war within, is bad for our cricket.
It can’t be otherwise after Virender Sehwag, the stand-in captain on Tuesday, accused regular captain
Mahendra Singh Dhoni of not being truthful on the sensitive issue of rotating the Nos. 1 to 3 batsmen.
That all isn’t well in the touring party was, significantly, reported by The Telegraph on Monday.
If Monday’s press conference by two joint commissioners of Calcutta Police, Jawed Shamim and Damayanti Sen, was without precedent, in the same category fall Sehwag’s comments before the media in steamy Brisbane.
Sehwag’s vicious counter left at least one very senior official of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) speechless.
“Don’t know what to say... I’ve been embarrassed after listening to the sound bites from the press conference... Sehwag has embarrassed the country,” he said, indicating that the BCCI president, Narayanswamy Srinivasan, will have to intervene.
Two days after Dhoni told the media that Sachin Tendulkar (38), Sehwag (33) and Gautam Gambhir (30) were unlikely to play together in the ongoing tri-series on account of their “slow” fielding, Sehwag gave a totally different version to the rotation bit.
All three did play against Sri Lanka, on Tuesday, but in the absence of Dhoni, who had to sit out owing to his one-match suspension.
While Sehwag made no contribution (it has been a pathetic tour for him), Sachin scored 22 to Gambhir’s 29. The last-named has been among the runs, but Sehwag is averaging a shocking 10.00 and Sachin a mere 18.00.
According to Sehwag, Dhoni had given them a different reason — giving more opportunities to batsmen
expected to play key roles in the 2015 World Cup.
That edition will be held in Australia-New Zealand.
Even if that’s what Dhoni conveyed to the three seniors, Sehwag should have restrained himself. But, then, he’s not Dhoni’s buddy and is “very keen” to take over the India captaincy.
Sehwag may argue that he chose to be frank, but he ought to have cleared the air in a one-on-one with Dhoni. Or, done so in the presence of coach Duncan Fletcher (who, apparently, shares Dhoni’s views on fielding) and manager Biswarup Dey.
But Sehwag made it clear that he had no plans to have a word with his captain. “Why should I have a chat with him?”
If that’s not a complete breakdown in communication in the India dressing room, then what is? Also, what is Fletcher doing?
We don’t have a permanent manager, as the BCCI believes in keeping its flock happy and rotating what ought to be a post manned by a professional, but the coach doesn’t change from tour to tour.
So, has Fletcher been earning his dollars? A coach, after all, is expected to do much more than fine-
tune strategy and iron out technical issues.
The biggest test for all is when a team isn’t doing well. Sadly, this trip to Australia has turned out to be disastrous off the field too.