Ind v Eng: Dhoni-mania grips Ranchi for 3rd ODI
Indians are wishing history will repeat itself and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will blast the daylights out England to baptise the new stadium in his home town Ranchi with a another memorable innings in the third one-day international on Saturday.
Dhoni scored a 106-ball 96 - which included 10 fours and three sixes - during the last ODI played in Jharkhand against England at the Keenan Stadium on April 12, 2006.
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The homecoming of India's World Cup winning captain and one of the most devastating batsman in ODI has gripped the city with Dhoni-mani since the arrival of the teams on Wednesday.
Eight years after making his India debut, MS Dhoni said on Friday that he can now proudly say he is from Ranchi which now boasts of an international stadium.
During the official inauguration of the stadium in front of the North Pavilion, an emotional Dhoni said: "When I started my international career, people during the overseas tours used to ask me where I came from. I would first say India, then Jharkhand and then Ranchi. The next question invariably was, 'Where is Ranchi?' I had to explain in different ways by saying, 'It's near Calcutta, near Jamshedpur from where Tata originated. It's India richest state in terms of minerals.
"Now the city has its own cricket identity. I can proudly say I'm from Ranchi because of this international stadium. I thank all who contributed in building the stadium. Now it's up to the people of Jharkhand to make the match a great success."
Dhoni added that Saturday would be a special day for him. "My last game in Jharkhand was at the Keenan (in Jamshedpur) against England in 2006. Tomorrow (Saturday) will be a new beginning. Amitabh Chaudhary's (JSCA president) dream of building an international stadium under the aegis of JSCA is now materialised. It's important to have a stadium under a cricket association's name," he said.
BCCI president N Srinivsan said he was amazed at the stadium. "I could not believe my eyes when I saw the end product. We are trying new venues in this series such as Rajkot, Dharamsala (venue for the fourth ODI) and the response has been good," he said.
To add to the drama prevailing in the city, Dhoni survived an injury scare after being struck on the right thumb while batting in the nets on Friday.
He was forced to cut his session short and received ice treatment from medical staff on the field.
Officials insisted the 31-year-old will be fit to lead the side out in front of an adoring public.
"He was hit in the nets on the thumb but he is fine, there are no problems over selection," an Indian official said.
"He was treated with ice on the pitch and in the dressing room and no more is needed, there will be no X-ray or anything like at.
"Dhoni is fit to play."
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja who stood in for Dhoni at the pre-match conference, sprung to the defence of out of form Virat Kohli.
"Virat has done very well for the country in the last one year. Ups and downs are a part of any cricketer's life and now is the time for Virat to come out of the bad patch. If he plays one good innings, he will get back to scoring runs. When he does well for the team, the team's morale and confidence improves. I hope he does well tomorrow (Saturday) and helps India win," said Jadeja as India aim to a 2-1 series lead.
"We are very happy with the way we won our last match. We just hope to carry forward the winning momentum and looking forward to win the game. We hope to do right things. We are very positive about tomorrow's game," Jadeja said.
Jadeja, who won the man-of-the-match award in Kochi for his all-round show (37-ball 61 not out and 2-12), said he would look to put up a similar performance on Saturday as well.
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