On Thursday, as Mahendra Singh Dhoni takes to the Wankhede Stadium for the semi-finals of the world T20 match, he will have a special one-year-old fan, Ziva, in the stands, supporting him.
No points for guessing who she is: Ziva is Dhoni’s daughter, who has flown to Mumbai with her mother Sakshi to watch the match.
“Dhoni’s little toddler has started understanding a bit of cricket and I’m sure her support will give daddy darling the extra motivation to perform better and win the match,” said Dhoni’s brother-in-law, Gautam Gutpa.
Meanwhile, celebrations of a certain victory in the semi-final has hit Dhoni’s hometown Ranchi where individuals and groups are making elaborate arrangements to cheer for their hero as India take on West Indies in the crucial knock out.
A few nervous ones have taken to prayers seeking divine intervention and even pledging on Dhoni’s behalf that the Indian captain will tonsure his head if India wins the title. “I will shave off my head too,” said Gyan Kumar, a young cricketer and Dhoni fan.
On Wednesday, members of the Sports Lovers Association (SLA) gathered at capital Ranchi’s Hanuman temple on the Kanke Road and performed special prayers for Team India’s victory.
“We performed the hawan to ward off evil spirits and seek divine blessings of Lord Hanuman, the savior,” SLA president Ashutosh Dwivedi said.
“Ranchiites are awaiting one more miracle under MS Dhoni’s captainship and we believe that the time has come as Virat Kohli, Ashwin, Pandya, Jadeja and veteran Nehra are their best forms,” he added.
Recreation clubs, theatres and cinema halls across state are offering live telecasts of the semi-final match.