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Dhoni returns to where it all started

india Updated: Apr 07, 2012 01:46 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times
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History will list the YSR Reddy ACA-VDCA stadium here as the venue where exactly seven years ago India got a good first look at Mahendra Singh Dhoni when he tore Pakistan's pace attack to shreds with a 148-run blitzkrieg.

That was only Dhoni's fifth international innings, but such was its intensity that India knew the man from Ranchi could be the next big thing, as well as ending the search for a durable wicket-keeper batsman.

Seven years and two world titles later, Dhoni, subdued by the thrashings at England and Australia, arrives at the venue that launched him to stardom.


Stuttering start
Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings haven't had a good start this time. But they will fancy a fresh beginning on Saturday against the Deccan Chargers, who are without regular skipper, Kumar Sangakkara, who is on national duty. In his absence, Cameron White is set to lead the team but DC sorely miss a big Indian name. Parthiv Patel and Amit Mishra are the two most recognisable Indian faces.

With even fast bowler Ishant Sharma out of reckoning due to injury, the Chargers heavily depend on their imports though the presence of South Africa quick Dale Steyn will be of some assurance. And the Deccan boys can always draw inspiration that though Chennai has always been a formidable side to play against in the IPL, the Hyderabad team team is on equal footing when it comes match results - both have won four each in the previous seasons.

More balanced
In comparison, CSK look far more balanced. Suresh Raina picked up from where he had left in the last season while Ravindra Jadeja and S Badrinath, despite their non-show against Mumbai Indians, can turn the tide in their favour.

Focus on skipper
But the focus is firmly back on Dhoni. He has taken a beating recently. And the crucial loss to Bangladesh in last month's Asia Cup has only worsened India's plight after forgetful tours to England and Australia.

Perhaps a knock reminiscent of the one he played here in 2005 could lift the misery. Not only did it demoralise Pakistan, it gave India a new range of shots to admire - audacious upper-cuts and memorable helicopter shots.

It's all there for Dhoni, not the captain but the marauding Indian batsman, to relive against an unsettled looking Deccan Chargers on Saturday.