India vs New Zealand: MS Dhoni eyes first big score in Ranchi, toils hard in optional practice
There is nothing that is 'untold' about Mahendra Singh Dhoni in Ranchi but the people in this industrial township would like their favourite son to use his blazing blade in what could possibly be his swansong on home turf and add to his legacy.
Ranchi: There is nothing that is 'untold' about Mahendra Singh Dhoni in Ranchi but the people in this industrial township would like their favourite son to use his blazing blade in what could possibly be his swansong on home turf and add to his legacy.
At a venue where India have won all their matches — two in ODIs and one in T20I — Dhoni has had limited opportunity, as India's most successful captain and best keeper-batsman's topscore in Ranchi is an unbeaten 10.
As he has stopped playing Test matches, there is no guarantee that the talismanic limited overs skipper will be around when India play their next match.
Dhoni, who in the last match promoted himself to four and hit a 91-ball 80, seems determined not to deprive his home crowd one last time.
On a day most, including Virat Kohli, did not turn up for an optional practice, the 35-year-old was in full intent as he batted for nearly 20 minutes, swinging and swiveling his blade as the ball flew past the boundary on more than one occasion.
Dhoni was tested by the leg-spin of none other than the legendary Anil Kumble, the Indian head coach, as the optional practice saw two others, Hardik Pandya and Manish Pandey, from the Mohali XI who turned up.
The skipper earlier had a close look at the pitch and pointed at a few patches to the local curator, before heading to the nets.
India last played at the JSCA stadium earlier this year when they posted 196 before restricting Sri Lanka to 127/9 in the second T20I of the series, where Dhoni scored 9 not out.
Dhoni did not play the last ODI India played at this venue, when Virat Kohli's 139 not out steered them to a three-wicket win over Sri Lanka who had scored 286/8 on 16 November, 2014.
The pitch is a batting paradise as both teams would certainly look to breach the 300-barrier, something that has never achieved at this venue and in this series.
The best total on this ground has been Australia's 295/8 in the rain-marred ODI on 23 October, 2013 but with Dhoni batting with a renewed vigour, his fans here would certainly expect a treat.
"The wicket will be full of runs. We will keep our fingers crossed to see a 300-total here," the local curator said indicating that evening dew may be a determining factor, making toss a crucial event ahead of the match.
India also wrapped their practice quickly and rushed to the hotel on a day their frontline pacer Umesh Yadav turned 29. "Always be yourself. You're always happy and smiling, that's the best thing about you. I wish you all the very best for future. Wish you all the success and lots of victories together. God bless you and have a great career for Team India," Virat Kohli said in his message on BCCI's Twitter.
— BCCI (@BCCI) October 25, 2016
Leading the five-match series 2-1 with their win in Mohali, India would look to seal the issue in Ranchi before heading to Visakhapatnam for the final ODI 29 October.
'Massive setback for Pak cricket,' Twitter reacts to New Zealand's withdrawal from Pakistan tour over security concerns
Here's how Twitter reacted to New Zealand's decision to pull out of their tour of Pakistan due to security concerns.
Pakistan Cricket Board CEO Wasim Khan confirmed that a chartered flight will be coming on Saturday to take the New Zealand team.
The Black Caps called off their first Pakistan series in 18 years with Wellington's backing on Friday just before the first one-day international was due to start in Rawalpindi.