India v England, 3rd ODI, Ranchi January 18, 2013

Dhoni fanfare overtakes main event


Match facts

January 19, 2013
Start time 1200 (0630 GMT)

Big Picture

Chirkunda is a small border town in Dhanbad district of the Indian state of Jharkhand, where a future national icon came to play a local tennis-ball cricket tournament in the late 1990s. There are hundreds of towns like Chirkunda across Jharkhand, which has mostly made the news for Maoist unrest and political instability. And many people from many such towns will feel pride in the story of a boy from their capital Ranchi, who rose and rose from anonymity.

That boy, MS Dhoni, now returns to his hometown as India captain, World Cup winner, to play in Ranchi's first ODI. To say that Ranchi is an emotional place right now is an understatement. And it is not an overstatement to say that Ranchi gets whatever attention it does mostly because it produced Dhoni.

For the moment, between Ranchi and Dhoni, the series itself has taken a bit of a backseat. England, of course, will know that their bowlers have taken a battering, a good part of it from Dhoni himself, in both the previous ODIs in Rajkot and Kochi. While their batsmen managed to just outdo India's in the first ODI, they fell woefully short in the second, against swing and spin alike. The Kochi loss bore traces of the old England and why they have lost 17 of their previous 20 ODIs in India - unable to control the rampaging home batsmen and unable to tackle the sticky local conditions.

England already know that this is not exactly the India side of old, which was extremely difficult to overcome on home soil. The personnel, especially the batsmen, might not have changed drastically, but times certainly have for Dhoni and his team.

Form guide

(Most recent first)
England LWLWW

In the spotlight

Thousands lined the route from the Birsa Munda airport to the team hotel in Ranchi to catch a glimpse of MS Dhoni, who has said he wasn't expecting such a tremendous reception, and felt "humbled". Dhoni is one of the very few India cricketers to come somewhat close to Sachin Tendulkar in terms of popularity and adulation, as well as in his ability to shut himself off from it all. There is no doubt he could feel overwhelmed when he walks out to the middle in the city he grew up in. There is also no doubt that he won't allow his game to be affected by the emotions of the thousands who will be screaming out his name from the stands.

Kevin Pietersen is in some form. His magnificent 186 on a Mumbai turner proved that last November and the way he walked down the pitch and hit balls from off to leg in Rajkot and Kochi reinforces the case. But both those knocks have been terminated in the forties. Pietersen can't be denied for too long.

Team news

Tim Bresnan missed the Kochi ODI with a niggle and, if fit, should return in place of Chris Woakes. Will England persist with Jade Dernbach? The fast bowler got the wicket of Dhoni in Rajkot and had kept India in check in the batting Powerplay before he and his bag of variations fell apart at the death.

England (possible) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Kevin Pietersen, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Joe Root, 6 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 7 Samit Patel, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 James Tredwell, 10 Jade Dernbach/Stuart Meaker, 11 Steven Finn

Amid all the local excitement, Dhoni was hit on the right thumb while batting against the bowling coach Joe Dawes in the nets. That was the end of his practice as he received ice treatment, but he is expected to be fit to play. With Shami Ahmed not doing badly at all in the four overs he got in Kochi, India can be expected to stick to a winning combination.

India (possible) 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Shami Ahmed.

Pitch and conditions

The Jharkhand State Cricket Association stadium has hosted just two first-class games, both of which were drawn. The curator has been quoted as saying he expects the side batting first to make around 350 on the "sporting wicket". Winter has started to wind down in the east of the country, with Jharkhand experiencing milder weather over the past few days. The curator does not expect dew to be a major factor. A light drizzle is forecast for later in the evening.

Stats and trivia

  • Before Rajkot, the last time England beat India in India in an ODI was in April 2006, in Ranchi's neighbouring city of Jamshedpur.

  • Ranchi will become India's 42nd ODI venue.


"Very high marks, let's say nine out of ten. I haven't given a perfect ten because even the best can be improved ... the good players can become even better, so also stadiums and facilities."
MS Dhoni rates the new stadium in his hometown

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on January 19, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (January 19 2013, 01:38 AM GMT) re "I'd probably rate England at 50% if they bat first" - think the glass is very much half full rather than half empty there

  • John on January 19, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    @landl47 on (January 18 2013, 23:22 PM GMT) re "The two most economical England bowlers in both ODIs were the spinners, and Swann and Panesar" - Which series are you referring to exactly? Otherwise I agree with your post. It's only a gamble changing things around if what you are doing is working.

    @SK5983 on (January 19 2013, 05:44 AM GMT) 100% agree there. I would not be so arrogant as to say Eng would have won the 1st test had we played both spinners (the margin was so big and that would be sour grapes) but I'm sure we would at least have made it a closer match

  • Dummy4 on January 19, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    i am from chirkunda , no doubt for us MSD is our real hero.

  • Rama Gopal on January 19, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    Young Indian bowlers are doing decent job barring Ishant Sharma & Dinda to an extent (especially in the first spell). I wish Rahane to score couple of 50+ which is desparately required before series so that even Gambhir will feel the pressure to keep his place.

    Bresnan or Dernbach makes no difference to Indian scorecard. Poms must play Briggs in couple of matches even if he goes for runs. He may not be as bad as Jade who can only bowl good 2/3 overs in batting powerplay.

    Expecting a good contest ahead

  • vishwas on January 19, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    i want to see dhoni come up the order may be in 3rd this seems to be batting friendly... i want to see dhoni fireworks in ranchi...........

  • Sachin on January 19, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    @Dear England Selectors, You have to keep it in Mind whenever you tour India, play in India as India plays, i mean team composition, that was the only reason you llost thefirs t test nas win other two that also made Indian team unsettled and they tried to unsettled there team by playing 3 spinners in 3 rd test and 4 in 4 test. If you are Playin ODI in India you need 2 good spinners in side and 2 not that good, but some time economically part--time spinners and 1 fast bowler and 2 swing bolwer thats all. This time by your team compositon i can see you have strenghthen your batting but dont have any economical bowlere in top five who can bowl in crisis when 1-2 of the top 4-5 bowlers have bad day. I have seen many post from england fan to play the team in the same way i have suggested, but selectors, coach and captain never listen us and same happens to India too when they are touring and nowadays it has started happening in India too.

  • Mangesh on January 19, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    "Public memory is very short " & more of one sided... to say that England's performance is understandavle as they are carrying B team !! the famous five listed Broad, Swan, Trott, Anderson etc -what has happend to them in ODIS s through hands of India is forgotten fast!! India is also testing a new side & including Zak, Sehwag,Irafn, No sachin its all new group trying to prove itself!!, By the way so called "Fluke" of India's 2 WC wins !!! who has prevented others to do that, it takes great efforts for getting there & do that "Fluke" after 1983 WC win India won several Sub continent Titles as also in 1985 won the B & H world series cup, Those were derived Titles & not so called flukes. To call India a "also ran" side is a big blunder made. till 18 months last India had both Test & ODI No 1 , the time is not all equal & downs are always greeted by Ups at next!! Best Luck Team India , You play on merits & surge ahead for preparation of your 3 rd WC Title-Oh!! rather 3rd Fluke!!

  • santho on January 19, 2013, 5:16 GMT

    Dhoni must give chance to new bowlers and batsmen in order to build a new strong team...we have to test our bench strength otherwise it will be very difficult for us in the future...

  • Cameron on January 19, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    TrueLankan: maybe your lot could perhaps actually TRY & win a maiden test match in Australia. Now that would be something worth diverting the relevance of an article for.

  • zulfiquar on January 19, 2013, 5:06 GMT

    England bowlers were a big disappointment in 2md ODI. Hope they find their mettle.

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