Team India make show of unity; say there's no rift
Captain holds unprecedented press conference to underline team harmony.
Nottingham: Mahendra Singh Dhoni has vehemently denied rumours of a rift in the Indian camp ahead of defending their World T20 title.
In an unprecedented move, the entire Indian team led by Dhoni on Friday appeared in front of the Indian media on the eve of their first game of the World T20 here, insisting there was no rift.
Rumours were abuzz about a confrontation between Dhoni and Vice-Captain Virender Sehwag, who missed India's warm-up games against New Zealand and Pakistan. The official version suggests Sehwag has been carrying an injury, but he is all set to miss India's World T20 opener against Bangladesh on Saturday.
The pre-match press conference is addressed usually by the Indian Captain. But Dhoni came to the press conference with the rest of his mates only to read out a statement on the entire team's behalf which stressed the unity among them.
Dhoni's comments on Thursday on Sehwag's injuries and a reply, "may be you should ask his physio to issue a press release" lent itself to media speculation of a rift between the two.
"Recent reports in the Indian media of a rift between myself and Sehwag amounts to nothing but false and irresponsible media reporting," said Dhoni on Friday. "Our fans and supporters can take confidence from the wonderful unity that continues to exist in the team.
Dhoni said his team was very well prepared and unified as they launch their campaign on Saturday to defend their title. "As we prepare for the T20 World Cup we are a superbly unified team. The team spirit is as good as it has ever been with each individual supporting each other--both on and off the team.
"We thank our fans for their continued support and look forward to entertaining u during this tournament, which we go into well prepared, unified as Team India and confident," he said.
Rohit Sharma's performance as an opener in India's warm-up matches came on the back of Sehwag's poor showing in the IPL last month, which has sidelined Sehwag but Dhoni had termed it as a "problem of plenty" after rounding off the warm-up fixtures.
India are also waiting for the recovery of pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, who is carrying a shoulder injury.