Who's this bowler? It is none other than Mahendra Singh Dhoni
MS Dhoni. Pic/PTI
Mahendra Singh Dhoni seems to be enjoying his cricket to the full nowadays.
Relieved from captaincy of both the national team and Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, India's most successful skipper will, nonetheless, lead his home state Jharkhand in the Vijay Hazare Trophy starting on Saturday.
He was seen spending more time bowling at the nets than he did with a bat in hand here at the Eden Gardens on Thursday.
Last January when India played England in the third One-Day International(ODI) here, the Ranchi wicketkeeper, fresh from stepping down as India captain, was seen rolling his arms with the white ball for quite sometime before donning the gloves.
When not bowling and in between batting sessions, the veteran of many an engaging battle was seen constantly in conversation with southpaw Saurabh Tiwary and a few other Jharkhand teammates.
One of them, Virat Singh, part of East Zone's Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Inter Zonal title winning team, told media persons later that Dhoni is always willing to extend a helping hand to the younger guns.
"I respect him a lot, so I stay a bit away from him. I am not scared though. He is very approachable and whenever I am in doubt I go to him. I still haven't got the time to interact with him on a one on one basis, but will do soon," said Virat Singh, who zoomed to a half-century in the final of the T20 domestic league match.
Dhoni batted last, observing keenly how his colleagues were playing before he took to the nets.
The 2011 World Cup winning captain played pace first, batting for five overs before taking on spin where one of the best finishers of the game, known for his lusty blows, smacked a few, prompting the sparse crowd that had come to see 'Mahi' from close to cheer his name loud.
Sporting a black floppy hat, Dhoni left the ground to a warm reception with faithfuls hanging dummy bats from the B.C. Roy Club House stand for an autograph.
Jharkand take on Karnataka at the Eden Gardens on Saturday in their opener.