Melbourne: He stirred up a hornet's nest by talking about a dressing room unrest but Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni sought to quell the speculation with a dash of humour on Thursday, saying that the imaginary stories that came out could be made into a movie by Warner brothers.
"Virat Kohli used a knife and he stabbed Shikhar Dhawan. When he recovered, we pushed him out to bat," joked Dhoni, when asked if Ravi Shastri indeed had to separate the two batsmen as per reports this past week.
The incident in question was the much talked about backing out from batting on the fourth day of the Brisbane Test by Shikhar Dhawan after being hit on the wrist during a net session.
Dhoni had stated that the last-minute shuffling of the order, which required Kohli go ahead of Dhawan, resulted in some unrest in the dressing room. "These are all stories," he said on a serious note.
"Stuff like this makes for good reading in tabloid papers and maybe it helps them sell better. Marvel and Warner Brothers should pick them up and make a movie out of it. I don't know where such stories come from."
"If someone from the team has actually said this, it will be interesting if you give us the name of that individual. Because his imagination is really brilliant and he should be working for movie companies and he doesn't deserve to be in our dressing room because he has created something that hasn't been there at all," he added with a dead-pan expression.
The Indian team has received a lot of flak from all quarters, including the Australian captain Steve Smith, in the build-up to the Boxing Day Test for their complaints about poor practice pitches and lack of proper food, besides the 'dressing room unrest'.
To add to it all, there has been a lot of aggressive banter on the field which paints a disturbing picture of the tour from an Indian perspective, especially in light of the 2-0 lead Australia take into this match. "There haven't been any formal complaints from our side so far. I don't want to comment on Steve Smith's comments because that will not be appropriate," said Dhoni.
"But I feel a bit of chirping is good on the field till the time players are not crossing their boundaries irrespective of which side they represent whether Australia or India. That is what makes cricket really interesting and as long as guidelines are followed I am not really bothered."
"Also, all the chirping has nothing to do with the performance on-field. I said earlier too that we have had 30-35 minutes of bad cricket in both the Tests and they cost us the matches. We have a fantastic dressing room and there have been no issues. Whenever the Indian team travels and we face difficult situations, media starts making their own stories and start putting it forward," Dhoni added.
As much as the Indian captain tried to put issues to bed, the bottom-line is that his team stands at the cusp of yet another overseas Test series loss and the visitors will be desperate to avoid a 3-0 score-line here.
"We have addressed it by saying stick more to the process and think less about the results because ultimately it's the process that gives you the result. We need to address those 30-45 minutes of cricket and we have spoken about it as a group.
"Other than that I think the response of the guys has been really good whether it was the first match in Adelaide or the second match in Brisbane," said the Indian skipper.
"We have been competitive in the series so far. There have been phases where we have not played good cricket. If we are able to capture those situations, definitely we can turn the tide. But still what's more important is to play good cricket and I feel we are doing that. We are just not crossing the line which is vital in five days of Test cricket. We feel we are close but at the same time it will have reflect in our performance," he added.
All members of the squad, including Bhuvneshwar Kumar, have been declared fit for the match, but the medium-pacer won't be risked in a match situation just yet.
"He has started bowling and he bowled during nets in the last Test as well. But we want to load him a bit more with bowling. As far as his fitness is concerned he is fit and also available for selection but Test-match fitness is slightly different."
"You may be fit but you have to see five days of load, how many overs you can bowl, what the situation is. You actually prepare for the worst when it comes to fitness in Test cricket," said Dhoni.
"But we will have to keep rotation of the bowlers in mind...When you play with four bowlers there is slightly more load on the fast bowlers in conditions like these. There's been a conscious attempt to rotate bowlers so that they are fresh and we are only forced to make changes because of injuries. So far it's been good," he added.
Last but not the least, the Indian skipper completed 10 years in international cricket this past week, and he reflected on his experiences so far. "It's been a long journey but time has flown. You don't get much time with your family. We keep travelling and play a lot of matches, nearly nine and a half months every year.
So I have realized we may have a shortened career but let's make the most of it, look to play each and every game till there is some big injury that restricts you from playing cricket," he said.
"I have learnt a lot in the last ten years. To remain humble is most important because there are ups and downs in cricket unless you are Clive Lloyd leading West Indies who never saw defeat in 10-12 years. You go through a phase where you win a lot of games and then you go through a phase where you lose a lot of games.
"Your form goes up and down. Overall I can say that I have seen everything in the last ten years, it has been very good and I am very happy with the way these ten years have gone," Dhoni signed off.