M.S. Dhoni has not featured in any limited-overs series India has played since the World Cup, in the West Indies and at home against South Africa. Talks of his possible retirement from the game continue to stir up emotions in his home town Ranchi.
Ranchi's love and affection for Dhoni can be noted in Jaykumar Sinha’s voice when he speaks about the city's most famous son. Sinha, convenor of the Jharkhand State Cricket Association and a former Ranchi University coach, has seen Dhoni evolve from a young boy to a world champion, and shares how the player is sorted and never far from his roots.
“Even today when he comes to the stadium and if I'm at the gate to receive him, even before I can greet him, he comes and hugs me: ‘Jay da, namaste. Kaise hain? (Namaste, how have you been?)’ He is friendly with everyone who works in this complex.”
When Dhoni is in town, he drops by at the JSCA Stadium to play billiards or tennis and he sometimes uses the gym. “He does some or the other activity every day... His approach is like any other player. Say, if a Ranji or under-16 campaign is going on, and we request him to speak to the boys for a few minutes, he does so willingly. He never says no... So as far as Ranchi and Jharkhand are concerned, he means the world to us,” says Sinha.
In Ranchi, it is almost as if Mahendra Singh Dhoni is separate from the game. His name and what he has achieved are celebrated just as fondly as his roots in the city.
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