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Will this be MS Dhoni’s last dance?

Under the glass roof of the upper stands of the MA Chidambaram Stadium, blown by the sea breeze from the marina coast, are yellow banners that shout: “MS, never leave us”. This is the first match of Indian Premier League (IPL) Season 17, but some fear it could be the last.

The banner was held by thousands of men and women in their twenties, wondering if this would be MS Dhoni’s last season. Or worse, the last time they would see them. Sitting next to them were older men, paunchy and balding, in whose minds Dhoni was still invincible. Some of them remembered how, a few sweltering summers ago, he hit a six into the stands to end a chase, or when he hit the air after landing the winning run. Looking at him now, they were young again. It was still yesterday. LEARN MORE

Mayank Yadav’s story

Mayank Yadav of Lucknow Super Giants bowls a delivery during the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 2024 cricket match between Lucknow Super Giants and Punjab Kings, at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Stadium, Lucknow. (PTI)

Jonny Bairstow, a pace bowling demolisher the world over, was in for a shock on Saturday night when he prepared to pull a length delivery from debutant Mayank Yadav as it rushed at him in a blur. This resulted in a fantastic catch and subsequent wickets with bouncers in a sensational spell of 3/27, including one at 155.8 kmph, against Punjab Kings warmed the heart of Mayank’s father Prabhu Yadav. It took him back to a pivotal moment when Mayank was 14 and he, a fan of West Indian rhythm legend Curtly Ambrose, planted a seed in his son.

Yadav sr. was returning from his factory, which makes sirens for ambulances and police vehicles, when he stopped at the Sonnet Club at Venkateshwara College in Delhi to look at the Mayank bowl. On the way back, the father dropped a nugget that years later would have repercussions during an IPL match at the Akana ground in Lucknow. LEARN MORE

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