Wellington: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Thursday surprisingly skipped the customary captain's press conference on the eve of the second Test against New Zealand here, possibly to avoid taking questions on the Justice (retd) Mukul Mudgal-committee report, wherein his name figures.
While Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum turned up for the press conference, opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan came to address the media in Dhoni's absence. Even Dhawan was not allowed to take questions on the spot fixing and the betting scandal in the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) and media manager R.N. Baba concluded the conference shortly afterwards.
Team India skipper MS Dhoni. File Pic
Mudgal, who was appointed by India's apex court to probe the IPL spot fixing scandal, has submitted a statement from a Tamil Nadu police officer who has has named Dhoni in the scandal.
In the statement, Superintendent of Police G. Sampath Kumar said a bookie named Kitty had claimed that Dhoni, who leads Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and his team principal Gurunath Meiyappan, the son-in-law of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president N. Srinivasan, were involved in betting in IPL matches.
During the press conference, even before Dhawan could take his seat, Baba said: "No questions on IPL-related matters."
Baba refused to allow any questioning on matters other than the Test and when one reporter tried to ask how the team had prepared for the match with reports of the IPL scandal swirling in India, he refused to allow Dhawan to answer and shut down the conference shortly afterwards.
Baba had also conducted the infamous press conference in Mumbai last year before the team's departure for the Champions Trophy when Dhoni was bombarded with questions about the spot fixing scandal.
In response to a few questions that Dhawan, who scored a century in the first Test, said the team has taken lot of positives from the last Test which they lost by 40 runs.
“The last Test match, we fought back really nicely and that second innings we batted really nicely. There are lots of positives to take from the last Test match, so it is helping build our confidence. We have got very good fast bowlers. Hopefully they can repeat that (performance) and get them out for a low score. We are confident and looking forward to the match,” he said.