Ranji Trophy: Dhoni meets Jharkhand's players

In the middle of Jharkhand's Ranji Trophy semifinal against Gujarat in Nagpur, India's limited-overs captain M. S. Dhoni flew in via a chartered plane and met Jharkhand's players.

M. S. Dhoni chatted at length with Jharkhand captain Saurabh Tiwary.   -  Sandeep Saxena

India’s One-Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 captain M. S. Dhoni flew into the city by a chartered plane and arrived here during lunch time to meet the Jharkhand team at the Vidarbha Cricket Association’s Civil Lines ground, in the middle of the team’s Ranji Trophy > semifinal against Gujarat .

Not being part of the team, the authorities provided him with a Players and Match officials Area (PMOA) accreditation so that he could - like any other player, support staff, match officials and staging association officials - move within the restricted areas.

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The PMOA accreditation also gave him access to the Jharkhand dressing room. “He has got a PMOA card now, he’s part of the team now,” said Match Referee, Narayanan Kutty.

Dhoni spoke to the team coach Rajeev Kumar, captain Saurabh Tiwary and got about five minutes to meet the players before the start of the second session that he watched with former India seamer Subroto Banerjee, who was also the former coach of the Jharkhand team.

At tea break, he had a long chat with Tiwary and for a few minutes with left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem.

Fine gesture

This visit is seen as a fine gesture by a former India Test captain as his guidance could help Jharkhand negotiate with a quality opposition whose batsmen have been in rampaging form this season. This is the first time Jharkhand has moved into the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy; Dhoni’s presence may just calm the nerves.

Much of the post tea session, Dhoni spent time with coach Rajeev Kumar.

Post meeting

Jharkhand coach Rajeev Kumar said Dhoni spoke about different situations and what the options are. "He was trying to explain what we can do when there’s a big partnership, which bowler to use and how long to wait. He’s very calm and he interacts with all the boys and makes everyone comfortable.

"He listens to everybody and then he gives his view. He’s the best in India sharing his thoughts; we are lucky in the Jharkhand team. He makes a difference. And he played the Vijay Hazare last year. And his work ethic is good, so when you have a senior who is a role model, as a coach it becomes very easy to explain to the others what you should do.

"So him being there is a big help to everybody, even to me. The plan at the start of the season was that he will be a mentor. I think he will be here till the fifth. He always said he would make a flying visit. Since the selection of the Indian team (for the ODIs against England) is on fifth, he will be here till fifth."

Dhoni is expected to be here for another two days and probably meet the chairman of the national selection committee M. S. K.Prasad and also Jatin Paranjape. The Indian team for the ODI series is likely to be selected on January 5. There is also the possibility of him training with the team before the start of the match on Monday and Tuesday.