For once, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had the opportunity to stand up and speak for Indian cricket, bring out the leadership qualities in him and address scores of fans who've been left shocked and shattered after last week's spot-fixing developments.

But Dhoni, on Tuesday, refused to choose that option. Instead, following the BCCI diktat, he sat with a straight face, the trademark grin of his missing, as the media belted questions about Indian cricket's darkest episode post the 2000 match-fixing scandal.

The skipper even refused to say on record that he will not be answering questions related to the spot-fixing controversy that erupted less than two-weeks ago, and led to the arrest of three cricketers, a franchise owner and scores of illegal bookmakers.

The job of stonewalling the media and the avoiding the inevitable questions was given to Dr RN Baba, a Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) official, who will be travelling with the team to England as the media regulator and, needless to say, has been BCCI president N Srinivasan's chosen man for specific tasks over the years. Baba is the father of Indian U-19 World Cup winning team's member Baba Aparajith.

Baba stood in front of Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher, and scanned each question that was thrown at them. If he didn't like the question, the concerned journalist was asked to keep quiet and the press conference went on with the next question that followed.

Dhoni was asked if he considered speaking on controversies an ethical and moral responsibility. He was also asked about his 'close friend' - Chennai Super Kings team principal and N Srinivasan's son-in-law - Gurunath Meiyappan's arrest last week, Vindu Dara Singh's closeness to the CSK franchise and his photographs with Dhoni's wife Sakshi at stadiums.

The Indian captain looked right through men and women asking him these questions and did not even bat an eyelid as the drama went on.

Three police sub-inspectors and a few constables were also present. When asked if they were specifically asked to be there, one of them termed it as "routine assignment."

Journalists asked Dhoni if, as captain of the Indian team, he considered it his responsibility to tell his side of the story before leaving with the rest of the team for the Champions Trophy. "Have you thought about whether the general public and cricket fans would want to believe in Indian cricket any further?" the skipper was asked. Dhoni only stared at him in return without a hint of any expression on his face.

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Keywords:India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Indian cricket, BCCI diktat,cricketers, franchise owner , illegal bookmakers,Dr RN Baba, Tamil Nadu Cricket Association ,TNCA, BCCI president, Baba Aparajith,coach Duncan Fletcher,Chennai Super Kings , Gurunath Meiyappan, Vindu Dara Singh, CSK franchise, Dhoni's wife Sakshi, stadiums,Indian team, Champions Trophy, skipper,cricket news,sports news