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West Indian crowds are unmatched for sense of humor
by Sunil Gavaskar
Jun 12, 2009
It is good to know that the standoff between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the Indian media is over. Whether this is a temporary truce or a permanent one will be seen over a period of time. Relations between the media and public persons is always a contentious one simply because neither side has ever made the effort to put themselves in the other person's position and thus have seldom been able to understand the pressures, tensions, demands of the jobs of the other side. Having said that it was obvious till last week's row that Mahendra Singh Dhoni has had the longest honeymoon period than any other Indian skipper barring perhaps Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi. The media had dubbed him captain cool after the way he controlled his emotions even in tight situations and hardly gave anything away by gesture or look.

That he would invariably front up with the media on days that India didn't do too well rather than send some player or official was also appreciated by the media. That's why it is surprising that he took offence to a speculative story about his relations with his vice-captain. It simply wasn't a story to get worked up about for there will always be this 'angle' in any team in the sub-continent. Hopefully nobody stirred him into taking the whole team along and also hopefully we can all start concentrating on the cricket and write what we see rather than what we imagine.

The ICC Twenty20 doesn't seem to have got off the blocks as the Indian Premier League. The glitz and glamor is definitely missing and even the crowds look a bit more subdued than in South Africa and India. Just about every team including Ireland have had their supporters come in but as always there is nothing quite like the supporters from the sub-continent who bring a liveliness that could only be matched by the West Indian supporters of old. The sense of humor that the West Indian crowds bring to the game can never be matched by any other crowd and that's why it's an experience playing in the Caribbean and it's also an experience no cricket lover should miss sitting among the fans in the Caribbean.

The Australians have exited from the tournament and it brings to the fore the question whether they have taken this format seriously. Many of their players could have got valuable practice in this form of the game if they had played in the Indian Premier League but chose instead to stay back in Australia. The Ashes series is huge and even if the Australians haven't won the T20 as yet if they lose the Ashes then they will not be forgiven by their fans at home so maybe if the next ICC Twenty20 is not in the same season as an Ashes series the Australians will give it a full tilt.

Right now they get additional days to prepare for the Ashes series and they have asked the Ashes squad to assemble in England earlier than thought of. The sending back of Andrew Symonds would certainly have affected the team and with his contract now torn up it appears that his international career is all but over. His contract has been given to another reluctant player Shaun Tait who famously withdrew from all cricket after getting a pasting by the Indian batsmen on a pitch where he was supposed to strike fear into the hearts of the Indians. Of course while building him up as some super fast bowler it was forgotten that India had in Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid two of the greatest batsmen in the history of the game and they also had the destroyer Virender Sehwag making a comeback to Test cricket and keen as mustard to show that he was hungry for runs. Tait went for plenty so much so that even his skipper Ricky Ponting lost faith in him and didn't use him as much as was expected. The bowler sulked and announced he needed a rest and a break from the game. Just imagine a bowler in his early twenties and having hardly bowled any overs asking for a break and now the same bowler is being contracted by his Board.

The Virender Sehwag injury is more serious than thought of and there is the possibility that the Delhi dasher may miss out even on the Champions Trophy after the surgery on his shoulder. Luckily for the Indian team the ICC has allowed a replacement for the injury had occurred in the Indian Premier League. Since there was hardly any time between the end of the IPL and the start of the ICC World Twenty20 there was no time for the fitness assessment of the squad and so Sehwag went ahead on the tour. Players know their pain threshold better than others and so can believe that the injuries will get better sooner than later but still it will save BCCI plenty of headaches if they have some protocol in place to ensure that similar situations do not reoccur. Thankfully Sehwag also is under the care of one of the best known surgeons for shoulder problems and so will come back stronger than before the injury. Karthick coming as replacement will also ease the burden on Dhoni as a keeper for the sprightly lad from Chennai was one of the stars of the IPL and can easily fit in the team on his batting prowess alone.

Retaining the trophy won't be easy but it can be done if India play to their potential. Here's wishing them all the best.
 
More Views by Sunil Gavaskar
  Results have been utterly disappointing for New Zealand
  National duty comes first
  One-day game is alive and well
  Dhoni bears the fury of the media
  Spirit of Cricket
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