When Dhoni calmed nerves of petrified team-mates after hotel fire

Unable to find the exit way in the darkness, the players were anxious when they received messages from their skipper M. S. Dhoni, asking them not to worry.

M.S. Dhoni and Jharkhand his team-mates got a scare when fire broke out in the hotel they were staying   -  PTI

On field, they have overcome quite a few hurdles. But on Friday morning, the cricketers from Jharkhand were in for a shock when a fire broke out in their team hotel in Dwarka.

The team, which is in the Capital for the Vijay Hazare Trophy, was to play its semifinal match against Bengal at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Friday, but with a major fire breaking out at the hotel, the match has now been postponed to Saturday.

Around 6:20 a.m., the cricketers found thick smoke engulfing their rooms. Initially, some of the players thought it was because of some electrical fault, but within minutes the players received text messages from the coach and team manager saying that a major fire had broken out. “We were just about to wake up when this happened. After thick smoke engulfed the room, we could hardly breathe. There was no electricity and the lobby was completely dark. That was really scary,” Ishan Kishan, a regular member of the Jharkhand team, told Sportstar.

Ishan, who led the India U-19 team in the World Cup last year, is yet to come to terms with the incident. “We had an important match in the morning, so the players were a bit under pressure. But this sudden incident was so scary. For a moment, we thought that it would be impossible to get out of the room,” he recalled.

Unable to find the exit way in the darkness, the players were anxious when they received messages from their skipper M. S. Dhoni, asking them not to worry. “Even Mahi bhai was unable to come out of his room. We really did not know what to do. I have never seen such a thing before,” a shocked Ishan said. After 10-15 minutes, the hotel management made some special arrangements to evacuate the Jharkhand players and the other guests.

“Even as we came out of the rooms, we could not see anything. Everything was dark. We had to leave all our gear behind,” Ishan added.

While the officers of the Delhi Fire Service department reached the spot in a while, the players decided to visit the Air Force ground in Palam. “There were security issues, so we decided to hit the ground, re-group and then return to the hotel. I have travelled to quite a few places, but have never faced such a situation before,” the young cricketer said.

Their playing gear and other equipments were found to be safe. “Our kit bags and all the gear are in perfect condition. Now, it is important that we overcome the shock and focus on the semifinal, which has been postponed to Saturday,” Ishan said.

As the players had suffered a big shock, the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) officials got in touch with the team management to ensure that the players were unaffected. “We are in constant touch with the players and the situation is under control now. We are monitoring the situation,” a senior official said.