|Mahendra Singh Dhoni and wife Sakshi (above) arrive at Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi on Wednesday. Pictures by Prashant Mitra
Ranchi, June 1: Ranchis laadla is back home, but for his family and friends. Mediapersons and shutterbugs, go sulk.
Team India captain M.S. Dhoni, who is arguably having his luckiest run on the pitch yet, reached the state capital this afternoon for the first time after leading India to a historic World Cup victory against Sri Lanka on April 2.
Of course, theres also the smash-hit Chennai SuperKings win second time in a row in the razzmatazz called IPL-4. Heres a man who can do no wrong.
Flying from Mumbai by a Kingfisher flight with wife Sakshi, Dhoni landed at Birsa Munda Airport at 3.15pm to a heartfelt welcome by friends, sports department officials and a few others who knew of this historic arrival.
We had been waiting for Dhoni since April 2, when he lifted the World Cup for India. We are happy he is finally home, said Ajay Nath Shahdeo, Ranchi deputy mayor and Mahis friend, at the airport.
Dhoni is known to keep his personal affairs close to his chest. Characteristically, not many people knew he was reaching Ranchi today, and a paparazzi-like chase was avoided.
Instead, the First Couple enjoyed a traditional welcome of nagada beats and paika moves by tribal artistes engaged by state sports department.
Dhonis black luxe sedan was parked at the portico of Birsa Munda Airport, and the district administration had arranged a tight ring of security. City superintendent of police Sambhu Thakur personally oversaw the arrangements.
Gautam Gupta, Dhonis brother-in-law, said: Mahi and Sakshi may stay for four days. As usual, Mahi declined to speak to the media and headed straight for his Harmu home.
The buzz started growing at Harmu as fans thronged the imposing black and beige residence. But by then, Dhoni had sprinted Sakshi to his farmhouse near Kathalmore.
In a diversion, a biker, craning his neck for a glimpse of his idol at Harmu, reportedly hit an employee of a TV channel who had to be rushed to SN Yadavs clinic at Bariatu. Traffic came to a standstill for 20 minutes till police intervened.
Meanwhile, deputy CM Sudesh Mahto, also the sports minister, said the government was waiting to fete Dhoni. Since hes is here for a short while, we wont be able to hold a big event at the Mega Sports Complex, but a small one instead, he said, sounding a little put out that the lavish gala planned earlier to fete Dhoni and 34th National Games medal winners from the state was not on cards.