Former Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a cult figure in Indian cricket and perhaps the most loved cricketer too. Even though the 40-year-old, who captains Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL), has bid adieu to international cricket, he's still loved and cherished by his fans all over the world.
One such die-hard fan recently came all the way from his village in Haryana to Ranchi in Jharkhand to meet his idol. The fan named Ajay Gill claimed to have walked for 16 days since July 29 to cover over 1,400km from his village to reach Dhoni’s residency in Ranchi.
Unfortunately, by the time Gill reached Ranchi, Dhoni had left for Chennai to fly to Dubai to take part in the rescheduled IPL 2021. When Gill was told that Dhoni would come back only after about three months, he refused to return home and said he would wait in Ranchi to catch a glimpse of his idol.
"Dhoniji se mil ke hi ghar lautunga (I will return home only after I meet Dhoni),” the 18-year-old was quoted as saying.
He added that Dhoni would be ready to spend at least 10 minutes with him as he had come a long way on foot to meet him.
When the news spread in the locality, Dhoni's friends took Gill to a hotel room and convinced him to return now and come again when the cricketer is in town. They also booked him a flight ticket to Delhi.
16 days, 1,400 kilometres!
Gill, who works at a saloon in Jalan Kheda in Haryana's Hisar district, started his journey on July 29 and covered about 1,400 kms in 16 days. He had coloured his hair yellow, orange, dark blue, and light blue - the colours in the jersey of Chennai Super Kings - alongside carving 'Dhoni' and 'Mahi' on his head. He also carried a tri-colour and a cricket bat to get it signed by the legendary player.
Gill said that he used to be a cricketer at the local level but stopped playing after Dhoni retired from international cricket. He returned home saying that he would come to meet his idol once the IPL is over.