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Dhoni plays safe again as Pawar faction flexes muscle

Dhoni plays safe again as  Pawar faction flexes muscle
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India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Thursday refused to break the BCCI gag on him in answering questions on the spot-fixing scandal that has hit IPL except to say that some players are ‘slightly mentally weak’ compared to others. Addressing a press conference ahead of the Champions Trophy, he made it clear that he would not answer questions relating to the recent controversies, saying he would definitely speak at the right time.

At the brief press conference in Birmingham, an ICC official reminded journalists that the interaction should be limited to the Champions Trophy much like the Indian team media manager’s intervention during the pre-departure press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday. Dhoni had come under severe attack from media and commentators for his silence in refusing to answer questions at the Mumbai interaction. ‘If I have not answered Indian journalists, there is no reason why I should answer you... at the right time (I will speak),’ he said. Asked if the Champion Trophy is an opportunity to ‘restore the reputation’ of Indian cricket, Dhoni said, ‘It is not that the reputation has gone. If I go ahead to explain that I would rather answer his question also. When the right time comes, I will answer it. As of now, I don’t think we have lost the opportunity because whatever the set up is through out the world or any sport, still you have some people who would be slightly mentally weak as compared to some of the others’, he said.

Meanwhile, the clamour for BCCI chief N Srinivasan’s ouster got stronger on Thursday. BCCI sources said some members want NCP supremo Sharad Pawar back at the helm.  The board looks deeply divided now, with some members still rooting for Srinivasan and others supporting Pawar.

However, the Cricket Association of Bengal is unlikely to join the anti-N Srinivasan camp in the BCCI if Pawar is the leader of the opposition faction, informed senior influential office-bearers. The Jagmohan Dalmiya-led association, which is one of the major Test centres of BCCI, has long-standing differences with Pawar.

Removing Srinivasan won’t be an easy task though.  At least 10 members have to make a written submission to convene a Special General Meeting of the board. Voting would then take place and even if eight full members are with Srinivasan, he would stay on. As of now, sources say, he has at least 11 members who support him.  And at least nine others are reportedly undecided.
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