iconimg Thursday, September 03, 2015

Somshuvra Laha, Hindustan Times
Ranchi, September 22, 2013
On his Twitter page, MS Dhoni describes himself as “Indian Cricket Team Captain, Biker, Gamer, hindi retro aficionado, an absolute pet-lover and perennially hungry for chicken butter masala”. But it’s his love for fast cars and hunky motorbikes that’s most pronounced. A few days ago Dhoni had the local cops tearing their hair apart when he decided to go for practice riding his bike. On Saturday however, Dhoni chose an emphatic entry by leading the Chennai team bus in his grey Hummer, just behind a police patrol vehicle blaring its sirens.

Bought for a whopping Rs. 1 crore in 2009, Dhoni drove the Hummer from Delhi to Ranchi and often takes it out for a spin whenever he is at home. He owns a few SUVs but the Hummer is said to be Dhoni’s favourite, so much that he even had the licence plates registered after his birthday — 7781 (July 7, 1981).

“Yes it’s different, isn’t it,” said CSK coach Stephen Fleming when asked about the experience of having a Hummer lead the team into the stadium. “I think it’s nice that we are in his hometown. He made most of the break he had. He’s energised about the game, looking forward to the matches,” said Fleming.

Sunday is the first time Dhoni will take the field after a long gap, having last played in the tri-series final in Port of Spain in July that he had steered India to victory. During his time off cricket, Dhoni spent a quiet vacation with family before getting down to restoring his first Rajdoot bike, pictures of which he has religiously posted on his Twitter profile.

And with CSK regrouping in Dhoni’s own backyard before kicking off their Champions League campaign against the Titanson Sunday, the India captain also took some time off to drive his coach around Ranchi. “I had a good trip with him in his car the other day,” said Fleming.

“We were going past some places where he played when he was young, pointing out a few family spots. I really enjoyed that,” he said.