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Irate fans target Dhoni’s house

Scores of angry cricket fans tried to damage his under-construction house to protest India’s —and the stumper’s — poor performance.

cricket Updated: Mar 19, 2007 15:28 IST

Jharkhand hero' Mahendra Singh Dhoni turned into a ‘villain’ overnight in his hometown Ranchi on Sunday, while a fan died of cardiac arrest in Gujarat after India’s defeat to Bangladesh in the World Cup.

Scores of angry cricket fans not only burnt Dhoni’s effigy but also tried to damage his under-construction house to protest India’s —and the stumper’s — poor performance.

The protesters also demanded the squad be called back from the Caribbean.

Led by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) activists, the fans demanded the state government take back the plot allotted to Dhoni. Ranchi Superintendent of Police, Richard Lakra, said the protesters could only shove some bricks kept at the site.

"The concerned police officials have been asked to keep a strict vigil at both Dhoni's residence (where his parents stay) and the site where his new house is coming up," Lakra added.

Casualty of loss to Bangla

In Jamnagar (Gujarat), a die-hard fan suffered a cardiac arrest and died. Vinod Kotecha, a 45-year-old fruit vendor from Jamraval, was so engrossed watching the action that it eventually caused a massive heart-attack.

The victim’s brother, Pravin, said: “We were all glued to the TV set. My brother, Vinod, a die-hard cricket fan, was very upset with India losing quick wickets. The fall of the fourth Indian wicket came as a big shock to him and he suddenly became unconscious. We immediately rushed him to a local hospital, where doctors declared him dead.”

Vigilance stepped up

In Bangalore, vigilance was also stepped up at the residences of Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and Robin Uthappa.

Greg Chappell and Dravid faced the ire of the crowd in Kolkata where fans took out a procession before burning their effigies. They wanted the coach and the captain to be sacked immediately, while in Jamshedpur, the fans went a step ahead and demanded Sourav Ganguly to be reinstated as India captain.

However, it was the beleaguered Virender Sehwag who was in the eye of the storm. The Delhi opener, suffering from a prolonged form slump, drew strongest of the reactions from the fans across the country. In Kanpur, while the aggressive in the crowd burnt his posters, others simply questioned the player's utility in the squad. Similar scenes were re-enacted in Varanasi, Bhopal and Jaipur.

In Jalandhar, fans turned up in large numbers to hold a demonstration and burn posters of the players today.
Slogans were raised against Sehwag, Dravid, Harbhajan Singh and other members of the Indian squad and even cricket administrators were not spared curses.

(With agency inputs)