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Dhoni should have faced the media head-on

India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni didn’t do justice to his Captain Cool image when he skipped the customary pre-Test match press conference in New Zealand before the final Test at Wellington.

Reports state that not only did the captain stay away, but the media manager also shot down any questions to Shikhar Dhawan with reference to the Indian Premier League (IPL), whose Player Auction coincided with the team’s preparation for the vital Test.

A committee that was set up by India’s Supreme Court had found Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of N Srinivasan, India’s cricket board chief and an official of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), guilty of illegal betting. The panel also stated that Meiyappan was not just an enthusiast, but an official and facts actually contradict claims of him just being an enthusiast.

Dhoni’s name has cropped up with some reports stating that the India and Chennai Super Kings captain, too, did not come clean during questioning about Meiyappan’s role.

While that still has to be probed further, it is surprising that Captain Courageous chose to duck the media meet instead of facing the verbal bouncers head-on.

Dhoni must realise that as perhaps the highest profile sportsman in the country, he is expected to speak in the good times and even the controversial.

What media-duckers like Dhoni don’t understand is that press interactions convey their thoughts to the people who follow the game. The belief among players that their views only help the media is rubbish. Probably, they cannot gauge the importance of the letter ‘P’ in PR. And if Dhoni did not want to talk about the IPL and its controversies, the manager could have told the media that the captain will only take questions about the Test match. Dhoni would not have emerged smelling of roses in such a scenario, but at least he wouldn’t have been called a press coward.

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