Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who attended the silver jubilee celebration of the Thiruvallur District Cricket Association (TDCA) here on Wednesday, revealed that it was the first time he was attending an event marking the long journey and success of an Association.

Dhoni said it reminded him of his schooldays in Ranchi. “I would like to thank the Ranchi district association for organising all categories of school-level cricket. You must be proud of the district you represent. I am proud I played for India, but it wouldn’t have started if I hadn’t played for my school or district,” the Chennai Super Kings skipper said.

The packed Image Auditorium gave Dhoni a rousing reception when he said, “It gives me real pleasure to be here. It gave me an opportunity to thank my district association in my home away from home.”

N. Srinivasan, former ICC chairman and BCCI president, heaped praise on TDCA secretary Dr. R.N. Baba. “For any association to last this long is not easy. Dr. Baba is a very busy man, but his love for the game makes him work for cricket. He has developed grounds, cricketers and outstanding sportsmen. All of us should be proud that we are in the presence of a person who teaches everybody the value of sportsmanship,” he said.

On the occasion, TDCA, in association with the Tamil Nadu Sports Journalists’ Association (TNSJA), awarded scholarships worth ₹ 3 lakh to sportspersons across disciplines.

The former winners of the TNSJA scholarships include cricketer M. Shahrukh Khan, chess sensation R. Praggnanandhaa and fencer Bhavani Devi.