Kids in Kalyani give schools a miss to cheer for Dhoni

While the schools and colleges were open, there was hardly any student present as most of them gathered at the Academy to watch Dhoni play for Jharkhand.

School students watch the Services v Jharkhand cricket match of Vijay Hazare Trophy at Kalyani in West Bengal on Tuesday.   -  PTI

“Dhoni, Dhoni….” a gang of girls shouted as they caught a glimpse of Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the CAB Academy ground in Kalyani on Tuesday morning.

After all, it’s not everyday that they get to watch former India captain taking the field in their own backyard. So, when such an occasion presented itself during a Vijay Hazare Trophy match between Jharkhand and Services, the youngsters from the small town in the outskirts of Kolkata decided to make the most of it.

While the schools and colleges were open, there was hardly any student present as most of them gathered at the Academy to watch Dhoni play. And not just that, the Kalyani University Experimental High School, which is located next to the ground, declared a virtual ‘holiday’ as the students left their classrooms just to cheer for the Jharkhand captain.

With the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) issuing free gate passes to the Kalyani Municipality for distribution, there were long queues outside the ground from early morning. But only a few thousand people could finally manage those passes, leaving most of them waiting outside. Though the CAB claimed to have issued 2,000 free gate passes, the disgruntled spectators alleged that only 1,000 passes were distributed, of which 700 were given to the Municipality.

But even then, the spectators battled all the odds to ensure that they caught glimpses of Dhoni. The crowd, however, had to return disappointed without seeing Dhoni bat as centuries by Ishank Jaggi and Saurabh Tiwary sealed the deal for Jharkhand. Dhoni’s fans, however, were not happy with that and preferred trolling Tiwary, with slogans like “Hai, Hai Saurabh…”

With the small town going crazy over Dhoni’s presence, the local administration were on their toes; the Nadia district administration deployed 200 security personnel, including the state police, combat force and private security agencies.

The Dhoni fever is likely to hit the town again, when the skipper returns here on March 6 for another league match of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Watch out, Dhoni fans!