Last heard MS Dhoni bought four flats in Mumbai. Not surprising that these flats might be unused or it could serve some other purpose for him. But that is not a concern here. Dhoni shares a special bond with the city. The World Cup in 2011 was won here at Wankhede. When Dhoni’s T20I side landed in India after winning the first-ever T20I World Cup, it was Mumbai which welcomed them.
Mumbai, again, was the place when Dhoni played his last match as captain for an Indian side. The India ‘A’ versus England game a few days back was just another warm-up match before Dhoni announced him stepping down from ODI and T20I captaincy. A massive hype was created when the unforeseen happened and Dhoni stepped down as captain.
The venue for the first warm-up game was chosen and it was again Mumbai but not Wankhede. This time, it was Brabourne stadium, which is adjacent to Wankhede. And in a matter of few hours, the warm-up game had got all the attention.
Brabourne stadium must not be known by many. The last match played here was in 2009 against Sri Lanka, which India won by an innings and 24 runs. Since then no international game had been played here. Yes, a few IPL ones (if you consider IPL cricket, cricket).
Before Wankhede, it was the same Brabourne stadium which hosted Tests in India. The real legacy of Bombay cricket is attached to this venue. The Cricket Club of India was, a few years back, considered the hub of cricket in India. However, everything changed when issues between BCCI, Mumbai Cricket Association and CCI began to spur up.
On Janaury 10th 2017, everything changed for Brabourne stadium. It was back in limelight but it did not see it coming. It was sudden and till last moment the Brabourne stadium was not ready for the spectacle that it saw.
There were 25000 spectators inside the venue on January 10th and they were there just for one reason- MS Dhoni. Usually when a batsman completes a ton, the crowd screams the loudest. It was not the case when Ambati Rayudu scored a ton. He scored a perfect century and there was massive appreciation but then came the big decision. Rayudu was seen going back and the reason why 25000 spectators had collected themselves at CCI walked in. MS Dhoni, coming in to bat in his usual style, enthralled the spectators. The same chants of ‘Dhoni, Dhoni’ which echoed at Wankhede 6 years back was back. Brabourne knew now how Wankhede felt in 2011.
In a sport, no individual is bigger than the game. MS Dhoni proved it wrong on January 10th 2017. Brabourne stadium, however, won’t complain. At all.