MS Dhoni with CSK coach Stephen Fleming at the news meet in Ranchi on Wednesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
For the ardent Dhoni fan in Ranchi, it is perhaps time to ask: “What has Jharkhand done for its most famous son?”
M.S. Dhoni does not know the status of land — 12.5 acres at Nayatoli-Simaliya village in Kanke circle — supposedly allotted to him by the then Arjun Munda government for his dream cricket academy after he led Team India to an emphatic victory in the World Cup in April 2011.
“Sach bataun toh mujhe bhi nahi pata. Mujhse kisi ne abhi tak baat nahi ki abhi tak (Honestly, even I don’t know anything about it. No one has approached me with any information so far in this regard),” Dhoni said, responding to a query by The Telegraph about his proposed academy and its land status during a news meet at the JSCA greens on Wednesday.
When nothing concrete came of the land, the cricketer last year reportedly knocked on the doors of the Bihar government for the same.
On the land allotment, Jharkhand had given lip service from time to time.
“The file is ready and it will be placed before the state cabinet soon for formal approval before it gets transferred,” A.K. Rastogi, then revenue and land reforms special secretary had told The Telegraph in April 2012, a year after the Cup.
Some 17 months later, it can be safely assumed that no one knows, including the chief minister Hemant Soren who holds the portfolio of revenue and land reforms or his bureaucratic right hand, J.B. Tubid.
After the two crisp sentences, a polished Dhoni on Wednesday smiled and transferred the mike to Chennai SuperKings (CSK) coach Stephen Fleming.
CSK will play three matches in Ranchi as part of the upcoming Champions League T20 starting from September 22. For both the team and its captain Dhoni, it will be a debut in Jharkhand in this short format. Dhoni debuted on JSCA greens on January 19 with a scintillating ODI victory against England.
The rest of the Q&A was about the game.
While Dhoni is sure about his team’s good show in front of his home crowd, Fleming said the next four days were crucial for practice to help the team “acclimatise better”. “CSK knows Indian conditions. The challenge is for the other three visiting teams,” Fleming grinned.
“Like always, we will play as a team and to our full potential,” Dhoni, who looked refreshed, chipped in.
Since the past 10 days, Dhoni is zooming around on his Yamaha bike in disguise. He is also keeping touch with net practice on JSCA grounds, visiting a few childhood friends in Shyamali Colony and so on.
Was the break enjoyable? “Oh yes. I had a good time at home,” Mahi smiled broadly.
What about security? “Ranchi is my home and I feel secure anytime here,” he said. “Carcades will only unnecessarily disturb people and police,” he thoughtfully added.
Hear that, Hemant and Co.