Dhoni refutes rift rumours
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his India team-mates have come out to quash rumours of in-fighting.
Last Updated: 05/06/09 5:37pm
On the eve of their ICC World Twenty20 opener, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his India team-mates have come out to quash rumours of a rift between the captain and his right-hand man Virender Sehwag.
Dhoni and his entire squad appeared at Friday's press conference to deliver a defiant statement ahead of the champions' curtain-raiser against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge.
Dhoni said: "This message is for the people of India, and for Indian cricket fans worldwide - and comes from the whole team that is why we are all here.
"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 field.
"Recent reports in the Indian media of a rift between myself and Sehwag amount to nothing but false and irresponsible media.
"Our fans and supporters can take confidence from the wonderful unity that continues to exist in this team.
"We thank our fans for their continued support and look forward to entertaining you during this tournament, which we go into well prepared, unified as Team India and confident. Thank you."
Sehwag has not figured in any of India's warm-up matches and still remains a major doubt to take part against Bangladesh because of a shoulder injury.
But India coach Gary Kirsten is proud of his team's show of unity ahead of the defence of the trophy they won in the inaugural event in 2007.
"I think it is a huge 'positive' to say we stand together as a team," Kirsten added. "When we get accused of in-fighting it hurts us because that doesn't happen in this team, certainly in the time I've been here.
"What it does is motivate the players, though, and make them more determined. This has maybe given us more direction. We are unified and we take pride in the fact that our performances have for a long time been about team unity.
"We don't play as individuals; we play as a team. When you operate as a very close-knit team, you can achieve wonderful things. That is the message."