Kolkata: On a day Virat Kohli and Co began their Test challenge against Australia in Pune, Mahendra Singh Dhoni had a fresh challenge on his hands seemingly oblivious to what’s happening in Team India.
The former India skipper, who had surprised everyone by choosing to travel with his teammates in a train from Ranchi, checked in at Eden Gardens in Jharkhand jersey, motivating his state team in his usual ‘captain cool’ manner.
Be it in India ranks or his IPL Pune franchise Rising Pune Supergiants, Dhoni is no more the captain but it’s only at his state where he has opted to lead in the upcoming domestic one-dayers for the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Dhoni wore his usual cool demeanour but the intensity was evident as he took out his team under the scorching afternoon sun and began the session in his familiar manner — a pep-talk followed by playing football.
But what followed was quite striking as he rolled his arm, bowling offspin to his fellow batsmen for close to half-an-hour.
However, he will not switch roles as manager P N Singh said Dhoni will remain the wicketkeeper and lead the side from behind the stumps.
“It’s his way of practice. He likes to roll his arm so he chose to bowl. He will keep wickets, though we have a second wicketkeeper in Ishan Kishan,” the manager said.
Under the afternoon heat, Dhoni also batted in full flow in both pace and spin bowling nets splitting his sessions by overs.
All in all, Dhoni remained a team man and was seen offering his advice to his fellow mates.
Impressive Jharkhand lefthander Virat Singh, who was instrumental in East Zone’s recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 title triumph, said they were privileged to play under the most successful Indian captain during his Vijay Hazare stint.
“He is a legend in Indian cricket for past decade. It really feels great to play under him in this meet. He has so many things to offer. His leadership quality and the way he keeps cool and composed in tense situations is something that inspire us,” Virat said.
“I respect him a lot, so I keep a distance from him. But it’s not that I’m scared of him. He is very approachable and whenever I am in doubt I seek his advice. I still haven’t got the time to interact with him on a one-on-one basis, but will do soon,” he added.
Dhoni-led Jharkhand will open their campaign against Karnataka at Eden Gardens on February 25.