Special Correspondent

Nottingham: Indian cricket team coach Gary Kirsten said the show of unity by the team at the pre-match captain’s press conference was a “collective decision.”

He said, “it’s a huge positive to say that we stand together as a team. When we get accused of infighting it hurts us. We wanted to send a message across that this team is really unified. For the Indian people, as Dhoni said, this team is really close.”

Asked about how a team coped with the pressure from the media, Kirsten said, “the players understand that there is a place for the media. At the same time I think there is a responsibility on both sides. We play positive, good cricket and we try and win games. From the media’s side, it is important that they report responsibly. If some statement has been made that there’s been infighting, I think it’s not true. It’s irresponsible.”

Made up story

He said the issue about Sehwag was “made up” and added, “there were individuals who felt that something needed to be done and hence it was a collective decision to show this to the Indian people. I think the media does play an important role in cricket and we all understand that. The media also has a responsibility in terms of the message it sends out to the Indian people. And we have a responsibility of showing, in every international we play in, about how unified we are.”

Queried about Sehwag’s batting spot once he regains fitness, Kirsten replied, “you must understand that this is a squad of 15. It’s important to know that we back everyone in this squad. Unfortunately we can pick only 11 on any given day.

“We have to make a choice as a selection panel as to who we think is the best for the job,” Kirsten elaborated.

Determined bunch

The Indian coach said Friday’s display of solidarity had made the players more determined. “We believe we are right into this tournament now and that’s given us more direction in terms of what we need to achieve for the Indian people.

“We don’t play as individuals and we play as a team and we take a lot of pride in that fact,” he said.

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