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When it comes to public speaking, Indian cricketers take the blandness of their tribe to new levels – there isn’t even offbeat humour to compensate for the vanilla statements - so there’s some anticipation over the launch of “official” personal websites by four top players. MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Ishant Sharma launched their websites in New Delhi on Monday and took a volley of questions. To one, on whether what was posted on his website could be taken as an official statement, Dhoni’s reply was succinct: what the need was for journalists to go to his website when he spoke at a press conference every second day?
It’s a captive market; unlike in the west, Twitter has not caught on with Indian players either, so these four sites could be the players’ mouthpiece to the fans. Nonetheless, there is always hope that some of their off-record earthy humour – or even a bit of the wit from their better TV commercials – finds its way to their websites, even if they lack the obvious colour of a Warne, Pietersen or Gayle (whose tweets during the West Indies players’ strike were always worth a read).
The four websites are currently live but require tweaking before fully completed; Harbhajan’s looks the most entertaining. The only player to post a gallery of images, some captured by team-mates, Harbhajan looks set to keep fans updated with his off-field leisurely activities. Sample his lying in the middle of a road in Wellington or posing by the dockyards in Auckland. Will the fans like it? The eyeballs will tell the tale.