Mahendra Singh Dhoni back where it all began, again

Vastavam web: Mahendra Singh Dhoni Tuesday relived his fond memories of the city by doing a customary pitch inspection at the ACA-VDCA Stadium, where he announced himself on the international scene more than 13 years ago. The 37-year-old Dhoni, a two-time World Cup winning former captain now, walked in, saw the pitch and briefly chatted with groundsmen on the eve of the second One-day International between India and West Indies.

While Dhoni made his international debut against Bangladesh in what was a subdued start, he caught the cricket world’s fancy for the first time with his swashbuckling 148 in a high-scoring match against arch rivals Pakistan in 2005. The BCCI tweeted: “The KING is here! This ground and the city of Visakhapatnam has a special bond. Memories aplenty. Let’s create plenty more tomorrow.

Dhoni has batted four times in the venue so far, aggregating nearly 250 runs with a healthy average of 80 and a strike rate above 100. More than 13 years ago, coming to bat at No.3 after the fall of Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni changed the complexion of the game with a knock full of dazzling strokes, which would become his trademark. Given the bond Dhoni and the venue and the port city share, it was apt when a group of match volunteers, pursuing chartered accountancy and engineering, declared “MSD is the city’s favourite, our favourite”.