New Delhi: From Chennai, Just want to meet Dhoni – Two boys held a placard for the entire day. They were accompanied by a few hundred others who stood on the fencing. They did not have a poster but their vocal cords were enough to tell a story.
But for a passenger aircraft that flew over the Palam sports complex on every five minutes, the Dhoni Dhoni chants were by far the most defining noise of the Vijay Hazare Trophy quarter final between Jharkhand and Vidarbha.
Anil Kumble did acknowledge that an Indian team playing in Ranchi without Dhoni will be different but the Indian head coach perhaps forgot that Dhoni can caste a magical spell on any Ground in India and make it dance to his tunes.
While the Delhi boy Virat Kohli was preparing for the third Test at Ranchi, the Ranchi boy had taken Delhi by storm.
Dhoni may not be an expert crowd wooer like his successor, yet the occasional wave of the arm to the fielders, an animated appeal or the shrugging of shoulder was enough to draw huge applause – true MSD style.
Spectators started to flock in at the Palam ground from early morning. To their disappointment they were not allowed to enter the ground for security reasons. That however, did not dampen the spirits of the crowd. The number of people rose with rising sun; traffic on the airport connector road came to a standstill. Some lucky ones made their way into the ground after the first innings to catch a close glimpse of their hero, but none luckier than a young boy who got a mid-match autograph from Dhoni.
When Dhoni finally walked into bat after hours of anticipation, a young man managed to breach the security and run into the middle to get an autograph. Like a true gentleman Dhoni signed the white paper and handed it back to him.
Jharkhand walked away with an easy win but it would not have mattered to the spectators. For them there was only winner – Mahendra Singh Dhoni.