“This message is for the people of India and Indian cricket fans from worldwide who care for the whole team. That’s why we are all here.
“As we prepare for the T20 World Cup, we are a unified team. The team spirit is as good as it has ever been, with each individual supporting each other both on and off the field.
“Recent reports in the Indian media of a rift between myself and Sehwag amounts to nothing but false and irresponsible media.
“Our fans and supporters can take confidence from the wonderful unity that continues to exist in the team.
“We thank our fans for this continued support and look forward to entertaining you during this tournament which we go into well-prepared, unified as Team India and confident.
Here’s the report.
The line I found most interesting?
Finished, Dhoni and the entire squad stormed out of the conference, leaving the Indian media miffed.
Question for the ‘Indian media’: just why were you miffed?
Could it be that for once, you are finding a captain who won’t play your games? A captain who, what is more, will confront issues head on when they arise or, more accurately, when you fabricate them out of whole cloth [As I had indicated earlier in the day, here]?
One of the reasons problems proliferated earlier is that when sections of the media fabricated stories of rifts within the team, the captain of the time either did not address them head on, or if he did, did so in the sort of wishy washy fashion that carried no conviction.
This facet of Dhoni is, even more than his captaincy, the reason I like him — he has the cojones to stop nonsense before it can spread, and doesn’t care how blunt he has to be to get the message across.
PostScript: On phone just now from England, my Rediff colleague Harish Kotian informed us that as Dhoni led his team out of the press conference, he tossed a stack of printed copies of his statement at the reporters and said, here, otherwise you will misquote me on this as well [Nahin toh tum log isko bhi ulta likhega].
What to say except, Go, MS!