India v England, 3rd ODI, Ranchi

Dhoni's homecoming brings Ranchi double delight

ESPNcricinfo staff

January 18, 2013

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni attempts to pull off his helicopter shot, England v India, World Twenty20, Group A, Colombo
Will MS Dhoni treat his home crowd to his helicopter shot? © Getty Images
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With the local boy arriving in Ranchi as India captain for the third ODI against England, the city has been taken over by Dhoni mania. In neighbouring West Bengal, Sourav Ganguly still sends the locals berserk whenever he makes a public appearance. Ranchi has had to wait eight years after Dhoni's India debut to host its maiden international game. No wonder then that thousands lined the roads from the Birsa Munda airport to the team hotel, a sight that left MS Dhoni feeling "humbled". Getting in and out of the team hotel has been difficult, with people crowding the entrance and even prompting the police into a mild lathi charge.

To celebrate the occasion, a liquor shop put up posters of Dhoni and Alastair Cook and even lined its counters with bats and stumps. The authorities went a step further. The state aviation department has been roped in, and there are plans to have a glider fly over the stadium and scatter gulaal (pink-coloured powder) on the outfield during the inauguration ceremony, before the start of the match and during the innings break.

Students are demanding a holiday on Saturday, the match day, something schools, already hit by shutdowns because of a severe cold wave, can ill-afford. J Mohanty, principal of DPS [Delhi Public School] Ranchi, is benevolent, though. "This is a proud moment for Jharkhand," Mohanty told the Hindustan Times. "The cricket match will be on the students' minds and they will also have to wait outside the hotels for a glimpse of their cricketing heroes. So we will not hold any additional classes this weekend."

There is a reason Dhoni matters so much to Ranchi and Jharkhand, which had little to cheer when it was part of Bihar state and has had little to cheer since it was carved out in 2000. Political instability is common; central-government rule has just been imposed for the third time in the state's short existence. "Small-town boys from places like this just don't get to be captain of India," Ushinor Majumdar, Jharkhand correspondent for the Hindustan Times, told the Guardian. "And it is mostly because of Dhoni that there is so much attention. In many ways it is an under-developed, backward place. But it is known in cricket thanks to Dhoni."

International cricket in Jharkhand was restricted to the steel city of Jamshedpur, where Dhoni has played a couple of ODIs, including one against England in 2006, at Tata Steel's Keenan Stadium. It was the state association's desire to have its own stadium that enabled Ranchi to watch Dhoni play for India in the city.

Dhoni was clearly thrilled with the stadium at his hometown. "Personally, it's a special moment for me. The journey begins tomorrow. It's the beginning of a new innings," he said at a function inaugurating cricket's latest international venue*.

He said the 39,000-seater stadium will give Ranchi plenty of recognition. "When I first joined the team, people were asking me the place I belonged to," Dhoni said. "I used to say I am from India and the next thing I would say I am from a place called Ranchi in Jharkhand. I used to explain Ranchi, giving various routes like it is a place close to Kolkata, near Jamshedpur. We are the richest state in natural resources.

"But, after the stadium was built it has now become an international venue. At least, we need not have to explain further about Ranchi in the cricket playing nations. It is a proud beginning; proud moment for people of Jharkhand."

The mood in the city has already shown how proud Ranchi is of the double honour of making its international debut with a homegrown captain.

* January 18, 17.00GMT This story has been updated after the stadium's inauguration ceremony

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by CivilGaurav on (January 19, 2013, 19:00 GMT)

I cannot believe that Dhoni played with 15000 of the 40000 present in the stadium!

Posted by NP_NY on (January 19, 2013, 5:41 GMT)

@Arpra: I was thinkiing the same thing - that is an awesome picture. The photographer couldn't have captured the helicopter shot more perfectly. As for Dhoni, I can only say this as an Indian fan - I am so glad Dhoni plays for India and not against because he is the BEST one day batsman ever. One can only wonder what he could have done if he had continued to bat up the order.

Posted by   on (January 19, 2013, 4:43 GMT)

@randyoz funny its coming from a fan whose team isn't ranked even in the top odi sides and coming for the two teams continuously shuffling in top 3 odi spots.Or did u forget Australia's last match score.Come on mate care for your own team because if India and england are minnows then currently Australia doesn't even qualify to play to ODI's with scores like 40/9 :D

Posted by AMAZINGFAN on (January 19, 2013, 2:51 GMT)

i'm also from ranchi and will be cheering for ranchi's favourite son today....go mahi.....

Posted by kg.criccrazy on (January 18, 2013, 19:41 GMT)

After having only BIT Mesra (Ranchi) as its jewel for so long, the city has MSD, IIM Ranchi, National Games and now this exquisite JSCA cricket stadium. Ranchi has truly arrived on the global map now. Congratulations Ranchi and way to go.

Posted by gsingh7 on (January 18, 2013, 19:38 GMT)

congrats mahi, go team blue, 1.2 billion hearts bleed blue, ggmu

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 18, 2013, 19:11 GMT)

Go Ranchi , down dhoni. :)

Posted by anandkr on (January 18, 2013, 19:11 GMT)

Wow - Cricket for Dhoni and thousands of cricket lovers in Jharkhand has come to a full circle now that Dhoni is playing before his home crowd. When Jharkhand was part of Bihar, people often asked if Bihar being such a large state ever produced even an average Ranji player and to some extent that mocking had some points. We all Bihari's often dreamt of having a cricketer from our own house who can play for India but honestly none of us would have dared to think, that one day we will have one of the most successful captain of India from Ranchi who played Tennis Ball Cricket Tournaments (For the lack of proper cricketing facility) traveling all across smaller towns of Jharkhand and Bengal. The second point for discussion among youth in the 90's would be, whether our city will ever host an international game. Now that our home grown cricketer, a poster boy of Indian cricket gets to play in a world class stadium in Ranchi itself, all such dreams have been realized. Way to Go Dhoni/Jrkhand

Posted by tententen on (January 18, 2013, 19:10 GMT)

MSD is a good for nothing jerk. most of the achievements in his career were because he had a formidable team. when the team was gone he was a pale shadow of himself. when people started asking for his head he started to bat. his captaincy is still a fluke. spat with VVS has left his test team like a rag tag unit. he should give up T20 and CSK captaincies if he wishes to continue to play for india.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (January 18, 2013, 18:29 GMT)

Congratulations to Ranchi. MSD will definitely put up a night to remember !!!! GO INDIA !!!

Posted by Arpra on (January 18, 2013, 18:20 GMT)

And that pic of Dhoni is awesome. Think its a freeze frame immediately after one of those helicopter shots. not from MCC manual for sure...

Posted by concerned_cricketer on (January 18, 2013, 17:44 GMT)

Congrats people of Ranchi and Jharkhand! Before Dhoni, I had only heard of Ranchi due to BITS Ranchi. It must be a great place and a great people to have produced such a son of India. Lion of Jharkhand, give us another chance to roar like you did in my hometown Kochi. Neenaal vazhatte/Ayushmaan Bhava.

Posted by reghuh on (January 18, 2013, 17:22 GMT)

Dear Captain MS, whatever you do ,for gods sake pls avoid Ishant Sharma, or else you will not have even 1 in a million chance to produce a good bowling effort.Such kind of bowlers should not even play in county cricket.INDIA is YET TO SEE EVEN A SINGLE FULL LENGTH BALL,leave alone yorker(which indian bowlers ever since era of Manoj Prabhakhar and Initial days of Ajit Agarkar have forgotten).Every bowler atleast tries to do something differrent if the way he is going is not succesful, but Ishant Sharma is so hopeless....no improvements, no variations, not even a differrent try...no matter even the world ends, he will bowl the same kind of ball..........

Posted by pull_shot on (January 18, 2013, 17:20 GMT)

happy for ranchi and dhoni.cant wait for a century in his home ground.all the luck for him and team india

Posted by Full-Blooded-Wallop on (January 18, 2013, 17:08 GMT)

Hoping for a good match and congrats to all fellow Ranchites for its first match ever. GO MSD!!

Posted by kunal95308 on (January 18, 2013, 16:56 GMT)

i have seen playing dhoni in the mecon ground and tennis ball cricket in the smaller grounds in the city. its a pround moment for the residents of ranchi which hosts its first international cricket. i hope the indian team and specially dhoni to play a memorable game in the JSCA international stadium which would remain in our memory for a long time to come...

Posted by chikku_ on (January 18, 2013, 16:56 GMT)

Wow. A small town boy who grew up thru all the adversities, it is amazing how he has carried himself thru all the fame,glory,success and failures. Mahi, you simply rock!!! A true champion you are!!!

Posted by pankajmce on (January 18, 2013, 16:47 GMT)

Very true. Dhoni has now brought Ranchi on to the world map very clearly. Earlier when people asked me where I am from, I had to explain so may things to describe Ranchi. Now they just say, oooo Dhoni's place!!! Thanks a ton to Dhoni. I am a big fan of yours and wish you and Indian team a good win tomorrow.

Posted by   on (January 18, 2013, 16:38 GMT)

Go Ranchi !!!! Host the Match in Style!!!

Posted by NasserAliKhan on (January 18, 2013, 16:17 GMT)

Wish the people of Ranchi great rejoicing on the match day, from a Pakistani supporter!

Posted by bluebillion on (January 18, 2013, 16:03 GMT)

Had MSD not been from Ranchi, this stadium would never have been constructed. For me it is unfair for Keenan Stadium (Jamshedpur) which will now probably not see any more international cricket and a highly reduced amount of domestic competition too. Very unfortunate for the beautiful Keenan. Gavaskar had called it the best pitch after Mohali and it has had lush green outfields since a long time back when even the "bigger" grounds in India were extremelly difficult to dive around. I suppose the issue with Keenan that it is deemed an unlucky venue for India. Goodbye Keenan - you have given me my earliest and some of the most exciting memories of watching live cricket.

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