Ranchi, Jul 7: Hundreds of cricket fans celebrated Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 28th birthday on Tuesday by cutting cake at Mecon Stadium, situated near his residence, and wished him success and more explosive knocks.
About 400 fans celebrating the occasion by cutting cake and distributing sweets in a stark contrast to another bunch of fans who had burnt his effigy following India's exit from the Twenty20 World Cup only few weeks back.
President of the Dhoni Fans Club, Jitendra Singh, said "The club has resolved to set up a cricket academy to felicitate young talents from the deprived section of the society."
Kaya salon here has reportedly announced 28 percent discount to its customers to mark the day. The salon had during the limited overs world cup given discount matching Dhoni's score on match days.
Wishing him more success in his life, Dhoni's former coach Chanchal Bhattacharya said he was happy to see fans celebrating his pupil's birthday even though the cricketer is away in a foreign land.
"There was a time when nobody cared for Dhoni though he had shown glimpses of talent in the initial years of his debut (June, 2004) and July 7 use to pass away unnoticed. Now I feel proud of Dhoni.
But I would like to request the fans to take a pledge on this day not to burn his or any cricketer's effigies whenever India loses a match. Those acts defeat the very purpose of celebrations," Bhattacharya added.
Dhoni silenced a group of fans, who had burnt his effigy here after India's exit from the T20 World Cup, by scoring two explosive knocks against the West Indies that gave India a 2-1 series victory in the one-day series.
The captain had also observed at a press conference in England that fans back home had even performed his last rites, expressing a tinge of sadness.
Former Bihar Ranji Trophy captain Adil Hussein, under whom Dhoni had played Sheesh Mahal Trophy in late 1990s, said "I wish him all success, and bring home the world championship trophy."
Feeling proud to find people celebrating Dhoni's birthday and a salon offering discount to its customers to mark the day, Hussein said "I hope Dhoni's status will not be single when he celebrates his next birthday."