CB Series 2011-12 February 24, 2012

Walia denies communication gap within Indian team


GS Walia, India's media manager on tour in Australia, addressed the press on behalf of the team to try to douse reports of a communication breakdown between the senior players. Not the captain, coach, senior players or team manager, but the media manager was entrusted with a responsibility of such delicate nature.

To quote Walia verbatim in certain matters might still be unfair because he often exceeded the brief of a media manager. Once, to a question if certain earlier press conferences this tour had affected the team, Walia said, "Certainly… [all] facts were given to the nation. I don't want to get into why it happened. Let us all be positive."

Back to the beginning. Walia began by saying there had been no communication gap, but when reminded of Virender Sehwag's comments that MS Dhoni had given him and the press two entirely different reasons for resting the seniors, Walia kept repeating the phrase, "Let's not analyse it further."

What makes it a serious matter is that Sehwag said Dhoni had told him he was resting the seniors because he wanted the young players to get more experience and chances. But in a press conference Dhoni said playing all three senior batsmen together would cost the side an extra 20 runs in the field. Sehwag didn't take that comment well; he said that his fielding had been the same for 10 years, and also pointed to a full-length diving catch he took against Sri Lanka in Brisbane.

The BCCI - at least in public - dismissed it all as misquoting by the media, but unconfirmed reports from India suggested the top brass had got in touch with the players and asked them to sort out the issues in a meeting on Thursday. Walia said that no such meeting happened, but that he had let the team know "immediately" after Sehwag's press conference on February 21 that "this is not a small thing".

"Immediately when we came back along with Sehwag, I told everybody," Walia said. "Because this is not a small thing. The nation must know what is happening here. You are the only medium through which the information is passed on to the whole nation. So I conveyed this to them immediately, in exactly the same terms. Everybody was there. All 17. They said, 'Sir, nothing else. There is no difference, but we will be vigilant in future. If somebody has seen there is a communication gap, we will try to avoid that situation in future.' So let us now all concentrate on the game."

Walia said the team is concerned about the reports that have appeared in the media. "First of all, I'll tell you there was no communication gap," Walia said. "But whatsoever is being shown or media is writing, the team is certainly concerned about it."

The press let him know that they had been reporting whatever the players were telling them. They wanted to know how the BCCI got an impression the players were being misquoted, because it is not possible to do so with press conferences that are recorded on camera and beamed directly on televisions. Walia admitted there was no misquoting, and that there might have been a communication gap between the team and the board.

"At a distance, if the president has said it, it is maybe his views," Walia said. "But I have never said it. I have never blamed the media.

"There could be a communication gap. Seeing things from a distance. Let us all forget [everything]."

The refrain of Walia's address was to forget all that had happened, and that the team was looking forward to the remaining two matches. "I am not blaming the media, but they [the players] are concerned," he said. "They are more concerned [than you].

"I think they are very positive about it. To play the next two matches in a positive way, and to their real potential. We played first four matches, and we lost one, but in the next three they came to their potential. Now the team again wants the next two matches should be like that only.

"Let us not analyse the same situation, why this was generated, how it came to this. Let us forget it and be positive in the future."

Edited by Abhishek Purohit

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 26, 2012, 5:04 GMT

    i love the fact that india is playing sachin sehwag gambler, and both allrounders irjan and jadeja regardless of what the rest of the world has to say, GO INDIA!!

  • isuru on February 25, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    Sachin with all the respect its high time to say good bye international cricket... dont copy SJ and dont ruin the name ... never let ppl to feel and tell you should leave now "thats wat happened to Sanath Jayasuriya " greediness is not good for great

  • mukesh on February 25, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    What does it take to get this sehwag out of the team.. how long are we going to hear this 'thats how viru plays' nonsense.. get him out , let sachin and gambir open... and please stop blaming dhoni , he is doing the best he can.. only thing that i feel assured about this team is batting of kohli in middle and dhoni down the order.. rest appears to be joke at the moment..

  • Hursh on February 25, 2012, 18:15 GMT

    i am not a big supporter of any team, but i love cricket. It has to be taken as a game. At the same time, i am big fan and proud of what sachin, sehwag, dhoni, dravid, ganguly made contributions to the game. Now, press and media people with mic in their hands, doesn't mean they write or say or express their opinion in such a way that people actually believe in the things which isnt true. Sehwag just answered a question from the media during interview "Have you seen my catch ?? " which could be the intention of stopping the media to question more or write anything. But here is our media which wants to pin down the team the matter they got even slightest of issue and make a mess of it. They should realise that its their social responsibility about what they write. in this situation, instead of encouraging, they are affecting the moral of the team to such extent that one day will come when you will hear "Yes", "No", "may be" sort of answers from cricketers in media interview.

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2012, 15:46 GMT

    Throughout this tournament, teams which produced good opening partnerships (or at least excellent total form the top three together) WON. That is where Indian CONSISTENTLY failed. And the worst performance was from Sehwag... who alone could and did change the course of matches, many times in the past. Where is he? Who is this apparent impostor?

  • sathya on February 25, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    Gambhir should have been captain if Sehwag is doing this racket.

  • VASANTHI on February 25, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    First of all I do not understand why Virernder Sehwag is in the team. Honestly speaking, he is not a good captain, poor fielder, poor english and a poor orator, not a team player and most importantly puts no value on his Wicket. He is never bothered about what situation the team is in, and plays his so called "natural Game" which does no good for the team. Why do we have him in the team? Let us not forget what Dhoni has done for the Indian team. Only for his performance in the world cup final, we all cricket lovers of India should be eternally grateful to him. The main issue at the moment we have is the coming two do or die matches. Hopefully we will get some good performances from our players and win the games. Good luck team India. totally agree with @longandshort.

  • Muthuvel on February 25, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    Sachin do it one last time, old boy..

  • ian on February 25, 2012, 7:02 GMT

    This is dysfunctional response to high-handed and out-of-touch autocracies is classic. You only tell an autocrat what he wants to hear, because if you don't, you - as the messenger - get shot. I have said this so many times, sometimes in language that is clearly too strong for the censors on this site, but Indian supporters deserve much, much better than the bunch of (choose your own plural substantive) that comprise the custodians of the great game in India. When is someone going to use whatever legitimate apparatus exists to clear out the governing body? Unless you start afresh - sanitised - the infection will remain. (Btw: Has anyone else noticed how misquotation has become endemic in this set up?)

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2012, 6:29 GMT


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