Quiet on controversies, Dhoni concentrating on new ODI rules

Updated: June 5, 2013, 8:15 PM IST

Cardiff: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni continued to maintain a stoic silence on the IPL spot-fixing scandal and also showed no willingness to give his version in the 'conflict of interest' controversy over him having stakes in a sports management company which handles him.

Asked if there are any distraction going into the Champions Trophy in the wake of recent controversies surrounding Indian cricket and the captain himself, Dhoni smartly dodged the query. "I think these are all the stuff that we're not even thinking about or does not even cross our minds. What we are really looking forward to is the challenge," Dhoni said.

"This is the first time we'll be playing under the new set of rules outside India, and we need to adapt quickly and see how our boys are reacting... So that's what we are looking forward to," he added.

Dhoni has come under sharp attack from some former cricketers for his alleged conflict of interest for having stakes in Rhiti Sports, which handles him and three of his Indian teammates.

Dhoni found himself in a controversy when it came to light that he had 15 per cent stake in Rhiti Sports, which also manages Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Pragyan Ojha, besides the Indian captain.

Prior to the Indian team's departure for England, Dhoni was asked questions about the spot-fixing scandal, but he answered none of them in a press conference in Mumbai.

On arrival also, Dhoni kept quiet saying "if I have not answered Indian journalists, there is no reason why I should answer you". He said he will answer such questions when the time was right.

Reminded about his statement that the Champions Trophy is one tournament that he would like to win, he said, "None of the trophy goes to my cabinet. What you need to realise is it's for Team India.

Dhoni also reckoned that the newly introduced ODI rules will bring about a "change in the approach" among most of the teams as batsmen may not go after the bowling in the initial overs.

"Most of the teams, I think, they'll have a bit of change in their approach. They'll try to keep their wickets intact in the first 10 [overs] as the new ball might do a bit," Dhoni told reporters on the eve of India's opening group league game of the Champions Trophy against South Africa.

"With the introduction of the new laws, the two new balls and also the fact that you have the one less fielder inside the oval, which means even if you have a wicket in hand, you can really exploit the conditions and get a lot of runs."

Having bundled out the Aussies for a paltry 65 in the warm-up game, Dhoni was all praise for his bowlers. "I think the new ball performance in the last game [vs Australia] was really good. There was not much swing for them, but there was really a good pace and it was important that the ball was really close to the off-stump mark. I think all in all they did that. If you see the complete picture, I think it was a good performance."

Before leaving India, Dhoni had stressed the need for playing with five specialist bowlers and reiterated it once again. "With the new rules, the five fielders outside, I think it will be very difficult to play with four bowlers and rely on the part-timers."

Dhoni also showered accolades on Dinesh Karthik, who has scored back-to-back centuries in the two warm-up games. "I always believe he's [Dinesh Karthik] someone who can bat really, really well in the middle of the order. The reason being he's a good runner. He reads the situation pretty well, and he's someone who can look to go on and play big innings, and that is what is really important in the middle-order. You have to get off to a good start. So I personally feel he's someone who is really good to have in the side.

"He's someone that should bat at No 3, 4 or 5 but not at No 6 or 7. So I think we'll try to give people their respective position, but we have to see according to what the need is really for the team."

First Published: June 5, 2013, 8:15 PM IST

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