Dhoni emerges stronger with BCCI backing

Brisbane: No one is talking but the ripple effects of what the national selectors back home have done to Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir are discernible as the Indian cricket team waits in suspense over whether they will make it to the finals of the tri-series.

Sehwag does not find a place in the team for the Asia Cup announced yesterday and Gambhir, who has captained India to a 5-0 ODI series win against New Zealand, has been upstaged by Virat Kolhi who was made vice-captain.

The team kept away from the media and, in fact, did not even practice. The team management was unwilling to comment on clear divisions within the team.

Sources within the team said that it was clear that the Delhi boys, Sehwag and Gambhir, have been sidelined because they had differences with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni which they have aired publicly.

Sehwag had questioned Dhoni`s statement that seniors like him were slow in the field while Gambhir had told the media that India should have won its match against Australia earlier than the last over in which Dhoni scored the winning runs.

Clearly Dhoni has had his way against Sehwag and Gambhir and also in ensuring that players like Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja, considered close to him, are not axed despite indifferent performances.

Reports persist that Sehwag had declined to hold a joint press conference with Dhoni last week to deny reports of a rift between them, but no one is willing to go on record.

Sehwag, who was officially `rested` for the Asia Cup on fitness issue, is ready to play in the best-of-three finals against Australia should India qualify. That will depend on whether Australia beats Sri Lanka tomorrow.

Those who feel that Sehwag has been done in point out that if he was not fit he should have been back home now. If his poor form was an issue then Sachin Tendulkar`s inclusion for Asia Cup is not warranted.

That Dhoni enjoys the strong backing of the BCCI is clear from the fact that he has emerged even stronger despite India losing eight consecutive overseas Test matches in England and Australia since June last under his captaincy.