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Australian media accuses Sehwag of creating rift in team

The Australian media accused senior batsman Virender Sehwag of creating a rift in the Indian team, which is reeling under the stress of two embarrassing defeats in the first two cricket Tests for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

The Courier Mail reported that India coach Duncan Fletcher is facing the greatest challenge of restoring harmony to a squabbling Indian dressing room and said Sehwag is the man polarising opinions.


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"Some team-mates feel he should be captain instead of keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni while his detractors are aghast at the lack of fight he has shown in several innings -- including his meek second-innings surrender in Sydney when he displayed the resilience of a soggy tissue to waft an airy cut to Dave Warner from the eighth ball he faced," the report said.

The daily also reported that India's team harmony is brittle at the best of times because "their dressing room is a unique ensemble of vastly contrasting characters, cultures and cliques".

"There are times when there are more than six different languages - apart from English - spoken in the Indian rooms," the report said.

Former Indian coach Greg Chappell noted during his stint there that young players were scared to express their thoughts and that team meetings were shackled by a hierarchical system.

"Once we were in a team meeting they (junior players) would clam up. I'd go outside with them and say, 'You've got great ideas. Why don't you speak up?' And the youngster would say, 'I can't speak before so-and-so. If I speak before a senior player, they will hold it against me forever'. Some were petrified, flat out refusing to say a word in a meeting before, say, (Sachin) Tendulkar had spoken.

"It was so hierarchical, it made Australian teams look like a commune. I even separated the team meetings into three groups - senior, intermediate and junior - so I could at least hear what the players thought," Chappell wrote in his autobiography Fierce Focus.

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