'Took bullet for Indian colleagues': Aussie journo on being grilled by M S Dhoni over a retirement question
New Delhi: “What I thought was a fairly routine question for a 34-year-old skipper just eliminated from the World T20 turned me into an unwitting media spectacle”.
This is how Sam Ferris, the sports journalist for cricket.com.au who unwittingly shared stage at the post-match press conference with Indian skipper M S Dhoni following the team’s hapless loss against a determined West Indies, described his ordeal.
In a column on the portal, Ferris narrated his ordeal with the Indian skipper last evening. The event turned out to be a spectacle with Ferris ending up on the aisle with Dhoni, on the latter’s persistent invitation to ‘have some fun’, and ended up being on the worng side for obvious reasons.
“If you had told me that by the end of the night, after watching a stunning West Indies run chase in the World T20 semi-final, that I would share the press conference table with India captain MS Dhoni and end up on every TV news bulletin in the country, I would have flat out called you a lunatic,” Ferris wrote in his column.
Ferris justified his inquisitiveness citing Dhoni’s abrupt decision to retire from Test cricket and how it had taken the whole world off-guard.
“With that in mind, I was sure he would get asked again if he was going to retire from limited-overs cricket,” he wrote, adding listing Dhoni’s career achievements just to be safe.
“For the record, I never asked if he was going to retire, just how keen he was to play on. I'm not trying to retire one of the greats,” he clarifies.
After the team’s loss to the Carribean side, the obvious question doing the rounds was whether Dhoni, the 34-year-old Indian skipper, was ready to hang his boots. Dhoni, however, had other ideas. When Ferris popped the question, Dhoni retorted by inviting him on stage and putting up a few questions of his own.
“Come here, let's have some fun. Please come here. Come, come, come...seriously! Yeah, come!” Dhoni told Ferris and then asked him if he wanted the skipper to retire.
Ferris then writes how he was welcomed with a warm embrace, a sympathetic arm around his shoulder and a crisp white smile that he had “seen on a dozen commercials featuring Dhoni on Indian television selling a vast range of products”.
The ordeal followed in full glare of the media and Ferris explains how he was swamped by the local press and how the event had left him so flabbergasted that he had to “check my accreditation for my name”.
However, Ferris has taken the entire episode in good jest and his piece does not have a retaliatory tone. In fact, he sportingly mocks himself sharing how his phone was going nuts with Twitter notifications.
“I’m told I’m now ‘trending’. No one has ever called me trendy. Ever,” he writes.
Ferris concludes saying he turned out to be the sacrificial lamb among the entire lot of journos present at the conference. Ferris writes that Dhoni is known to hate the retirement question and that he was “ready to pounce” on an Indian journalist who was going to ask it.
“Even though I fired the wrong ammunition, it seems I took a bullet for my Indian colleagues,” he concludes.