Mumbai: While there was no shortage of action as India took on West Indies in the second semifinal of ICC World Twenty20 on Thursday, the press conference, following hosts' defeat against the Caribbean side, was equally entertaining after the Australian journalist shared the stage with Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Samuel Ferris, who asked Mahendra Singh Dhoni about how long he plans to go on, is at the centre of attention following the incident.
In his blog for ‘cricket.com.au’, he opened up how he felt about the incident.
“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 said.
“I thought it was a pretty standard question to be fair. When Dhoni shocked the world with his Test retirement out of nowhere after the 2014 Boxing Day Test at the MCG, it caught everybody off-guard. “
“With that in mind, I was sure he would get asked again if he was going to retire from limited-overs cricket. And it's not like at 34 years old hasn't achieved anything in white-ball cricket; he won the inaugural World T20 in 2007 in South Africa, hit the winning runs, a six no less, to win the 2011 50-over World Cup on home soil, and to complete the trifecta, took out the 2013 Champions Trophy in England,” Ferris added.
Ferris, who did a fine job, holding on to his ground, said, "But in case none of the India press pack was going to ask, I was ready. Well, ready is probably not the right word. I can get nervous when asking questions at press conferences, but I thought it through, tried to keep it simple, and hoped I wouldn't mumble. Press conferences operate on a rotation system, so when my turn rolled around, the question still had not been asked, and I went for it."
"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. I even prefaced it with "You've achieved pretty much everything in cricket" to soften the blow and try to make me not look like some blood-thirsty mosquito looking for a headline (which I most definitely was). Then he smiles and asks if I can repeat it. Great, I mumbled. I pony up again and ask, and instead of an answer I get an invitation. An invitation to come join him on stage. At first I politely decline, but he insists. Who am I to turn down India's greatest-ever captain,?" Ferris added further.
"I'm welcomed with a warm embrace, a sympathetic arm around my shoulder and a crisp white smile, the same smile I've seen on a dozen commercials featuring Dhoni on Indian television selling a vast range of products. Having only experienced this situation from the other side of microphone, I took a quick glance up ahead to see what all the fuss is about and can only remember the bright lights and our cameraman/photographer 'Doc' snapping away in the aisle on his camera phone,” said the Australian journalist about what transpired as he moved forward to sit beside Dhoni.
"I get off the stage, to slight applause and disbelieving laughter, then Dhoni explains again why he wanted an Indian reporter to ask the question," remembered Ferris.
"I wish it was an Indian media person," Doni explained to the media as I retake my seat. "Then I would have asked if he has a son who is a wicketkeeper and ready to play. He would have said no, then I would have said maybe a brother who is a wicketkeeper and who is ready to play.
"You fired the wrong ammunition at the wrong time."
"Following the press conference I'm swamped by the local press. This is what the players must go through, and it's pretty daunting. I couldn't remember anything I said, what happened and I had to check my accreditation for my name," he said.
Ferris said: "Shortly after my phone is going nuts with Twitter notifications and I’m told I’m now ‘trending’. No one has ever called me trendy. Ever."
"Word has it Dhoni hates that question and 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," concluded Ferris.