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Page last updated at 15:00 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 16:00 UK

Dhoni denies talk of India rift

Saturday's ICC World Twenty20 matches
Group D - The Oval: New Zealand v Scotland (1000 BST)
Group C - The Oval: Australia v West Indies (1400 BST)
Group A - Trent Bridge: India v Bangladesh (1800 BST)
Coverage: Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, Radio 4 LW, Red Button and online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & mobiles. Live on Sky Sports with highlights on BBC and online at 2315 BST

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India squad present united front

India captain Mahendra Dhoni denied talk of a rift with vice-captain Virender Sehwag ahead of Saturday's World Twenty20 match with Bangladesh.

The 2007 champions' news conference on Friday saw Dhoni, flanked by all his team-mates, including Sehwag, read a statement before walking out en masse.

Dhoni blamed "false and irresponsible media" in India for spreading rumours.

"The team spirit is as good as ever, with each individual supporting each other on and off the field," he said.

"Recent reports in the Indian media of a rift between myself and Sehwag amount to nothing but false and irresponsible media.

"Our fans and supporters can take confidence from the wonderful unity that continues to exist in this team.

"We thank our fans for their continued support and look forward to entertaining you during this tournament, which we go into well prepared, unified as Team India and confident."

Sehwag missed India's two warm-up matches because of a shoulder injury and looks like missing the champions' opener.

606: DEBATE

Rohit Sharma seems set to continue at the top of the order after smashing 80 off 53 balls in Wednesday's convincing warm-up win over Pakistan at The Oval.

But Bangladesh, who beat India at the 2007 50-over World Cup, believe they are ready to make a significant impact on the world stage.

"I don't think this team is about fluking it any more," said their Australian coach Jamie Siddons, whose side also face Ireland in the group section.

"We've done the work, we've got really good depth in our batting and bowling. We've moved on from that fluky win. We have a chance to push anyone any time now.

"The other teams are ranked higher than us and are still probably better teams on their day, but if they slip up, we're quite capable of jumping all over them."

WORLD TWENTY20 GROUPS
GROUP A: India, Bangladesh, Ireland
GROUP B: Pakistan, England, Netherlands
GROUP C: Australia, Sri Lanka, West Indies
GROUP D: New Zealand, South Africa, Scotland

Australia, who open their campaign against West Indies at The Oval after New Zealand face Scotland, have also had a turbulent build-up following the dismissal of all-rounder Andrew Symonds from their squad for a breach of discipline.

But vice-captain Michael Clarke said he believed Symonds' departure would help galvanise the squad.

"No matter what comes along on a tour, as a team you need to stick together," he said.

"The boys have trained really well and are looking forward to Saturday's game. What's happened in the past will stay in the past"

"We haven't been as successful as we would like in Twenty20 so this is a good opportunity to show the world we want to be the best at this format."

They will have to find a way to restrict West Indies skipper Chris Gayle, who remains the only player to have hit a Twenty20 international century.

Gayle sat out the warm-up thrashing by England in midweek after blitzing seven sixes in an unbeaten 88 against Scotland.

"I try to stick to my strength, which is power: once I get it right I will clear the boundary, so I have to back myself," he said.

"I am an attacking person, and hopefully that can bring a lot of joy and smiling in the crowd."

Scott Styris
Scott Styris helped Deccan Chargers win the Indian Premier League

Scotland also experienced disruption during the warm-up matches when former county bowler John Blain quit after a row with skipper Gavin Hamilton.

The Scots, having failed to qualify for the 2011 World Cup in Asia, will be desperate to show they are deserving of a place on the big stage.

But a seven-wicket loss to The Netherlands in a warm-up confirmed the extent of the challenge facing the side.

New Zealand go into the match at 1000 BST in good form after winning five of their six warm-up matches.

They have an impressive record at major tournaments, having reached the semi-finals of the last three ICC World events.

All-rounder Scott Styris said: "It's up to us whether we can take it a step further, but we're not too worried about what other teams think of us.

"We are aware, though, that if we play well enough we'll be better than other teams too."

New Zealand have the advantage of having had seven members of their squad - captain Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum, Styris, Jacob Oram, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor and Kyle Mills - featuring in the recent IPL tournament to hone their Twenty20 skills.

They were also one of the first teams to arrive on English soil to begin their preparations.



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see also
New Zealand given scare by Scots
06 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Stage set for Twenty20 showpiece
04 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Superb Netherlands shock England
05 Jun 09 |  England
Symonds axed from Australia squad
04 Jun 09 |  Australia
Hamilton plays down Twenty20 row
02 Jun 09 |  Scotland
Superb India overwhelm Pakistan
03 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Leading trio secure warm-up wins
02 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Ireland and Aussies win warm-ups
01 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Jonathan Agnew column
04 Jun 09 |  Cricket
World Twenty20 ones to watch
31 May 09 |  Cricket
Twenty20 takes centre stage
01 Jun 09 |  Cricket
World Twenty20 teams guide
03 Jun 09 |  Cricket
ICC World Twenty20 2009 results
21 Jun 09 |  Cricket
ICC World Twenty20 squads
10 Jun 09 |  Cricket
India win dramatic Twenty20 final
24 Sep 07 |  Cricket


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