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MS Dhoni could be playing his last ODI at Ranchi IANS

By Tapan Mohanta

Ranchi: There is nothing that is ‘untold’ about Mahendra Singh Dhoni in Ranchi but the people in this industrial township would like their favourite son to use his blazing blade in what could possibly be his swansong on home turf and add to his legacy. At a venue where India have won all their matches, two in ODIs and one in T20I, Dhoni has had limited opportunity as the India’s most successful captain and best keeper-batsman’s topscore here 10 not out. As he has stopped playing Test matches, there is no guarantee that the talismanic limited overs skipper will be around when India play their next match. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs New Zealand, 4th ODI at Ranchi

Dhoni, who in the last match promoted himself to four and hit a 91-ball 80, it seems is determined not to deprive his home crowd one last time. On a day most including Virat Kohli did not turn up for an optional practice, the 35-year-old was in full intent as he batted for nearly 20 minutes, swinging and swiveling his blade as the ball flew past the boundary on more than one occasion.

Dhoni was tested by the leg-spin of none other than the legendary Anil Kumble, the Indian head coach as the optional practice saw two others, Hardik Pandya and Manish Pandey, from the Mohali XI who turned up. The skipper earlier had a close look at the pitch and pointed at a few patches to the local curator before heading to the nets.

India last played here earlier this year when they posted 196 before restricting Sri Lanka to 127/9 in the second T20I of the series where Dhoni scored 9 not out. Dhoni did not play the last ODI India played here when Virat Kohli’s 139 not out steered them to a three-wicket win over Sri Lanka who had scored 286/8 on November 16, 2014.

The pitch is a batting paradise as both teams would certainly look to breach the 300-barrier, something that has never achieved at this venue and in this series. The best total on this ground has been Australia’s 295/8 in the rain-marred ODI on October 23, 2013 but with Dhoni batting with a renewed vigour, his fans here would certainly expect a treat. “The wicket will be full of runs. We will keep our fingers crossed to see a 300-total here,” the local curator said indicating that evening dew may be a determining factor, making toss a crucial event ahead of the match.

India also wrapped their practice quickly and rushed to the hotel on a day their frontline pacer Umesh Yadav turned 29. “Always be yourself. You’re always happy and smiling, that’s the best thing about you. I wish you all the very best for future. Wish you all the success and lots of victories together. God bless you and have a great career for Team India,” Virat Kohli said in his message on BCCI Twitter. Leading the five-match series 2-1 with their win in Mohali, India would look to seal the issue here before heading to Visakhapatnam for the final ODI October 29.