India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is usually measured in press conferences. In fair weather climes, he entertains and often blunts the acerbic-tipped barbs with his infectious smile, and in times of strife, as when his team endured a lean patch abroad, takes the questions head on, and trades the proverbial yo-yo for a spear. Hence his silence on the raging spot-fixing controversy, stoic or selective or imposed, is all the more confounding.
Accepted that it’s not mandatory for the captain to address the press before or after a final (he missed both in the IPL) — it’s more of a courtesy skippers prescribe to — but when he finally faced the press ahead of Team India’s departure to England for the Champions Trophy, he pursued a stand, a meek stand, which we are so unaccustomed to seeing from him.
The BCCI insists he wasn’t tongue-tied, but Dhoni kept ducking questions, direct or laced, on the spot-fixing scandal. Even in England, he is tight-lipped. Sample this: “As the leader of Indian cricket fraternity, why have we not heard from you so far?” Silence. “Can you guarantee Indian cricket fans that during Champions Trophy, there will be no mischief on the field?” Again silence. “Has there been an impact on the players going for Champions Trophy?” More silence. “Do you know Vindu Dara Singh personally?” Smiles.
The media manager was prompted to intervene, but the questions kept brimming. And when he finally broke the silence, he chose to tantalise the media. “It is not that the reputation (of Indian cricket) has gone,” he retorted.
“As of now, I don’t think we have lost the opportunity because whatever the set-up is throughout the world of any sport, you have some people who would be slightly mentally weak compared to some of the others. I would have loved to elaborate, but at the right time I will do it,” he said.