Dhoni every week
Cricket's poster boy Mahendra Singh Dhoni joins hands with NDTV.
JOINING HANDS Cricketer M.S. Dhoni presenting a cricket bat to Prannoy Roy Photo: R.V. MOORTHY
When India's leading news channel, and its most exciting `cricketer of the season' come together, inevitably, it whips up excitement and curiosity in abundant measure. Since NDTV Chairman, Dr. Prannoy Roy, announced an exclusive contract with the latest cricketing icon, who has bludgeoned the nation's imagination with the force of a tornado, the dashing M.S. Dhoni, this past week, it created quite a buzz in media and sports circles.
A visibly enthused Dr. Roy said on the occasion, "We are pleased to announce our exclusive association with Dhoni, as it is in line with our sustained effort to bring quality content to millions of cricket fans across the country," adding "it is Dhoni's immense talent, maturity and spirit of sportsmanship which prompted us to take this decision". When Dhoni was asked the same question (it was an erudite and camera savvy Dhoni who answered, from the heart) "It is the man himself - Dr. Roy - whom I have admired since childhood, when I used to watch his pioneering programme, the World This Week." Well, surely, the world has moved for the two since then.
The contract, which has been signed for an initial period of one year, but which, Prannoy felt "will last a lifetime", will feature Dhoni in a series of interviews, views and special shows, exclusively for NDTV. On whether this will undermine his commitment towards the game, Dhoni said, "Cricket is my foremost priority, and it will remain that way." As Prannoy added, "The contract has been drawn keeping in view Dhoni's commitments to BCCI, which he will continue to honour."
On the pre-eminent popularity of cricket vis-à-vis other sports, Dhoni's reply was rather candid, "People like the game, and so the forces of market have catapulted it to the status it enjoys today." However, he affirmed his plans to promote other sports "particularly in the home state of Jharkhand, where I propose to work for hockey and soccer." The stylish wicketkeeper-batsman exhibited a well informed, balanced and mature head over his broad shoulders, as he fielded tricky questions with a panache, that could given so-called veterans a complex, from his famous hairstyle to the recent demand of cricketers for a less strenuous schedule to prevent player burnout to his plans for marriage, he deflected them all with consummate ease.
When quizzed about butterflies in his stomach ahead of the strenuous tour of West Indies, a nonchalant Dhoni said, "It would give us much needed feel of conditions prior to the World Cup next year." In the end, it was Dr. Roy, who, in his characteristic poise summed up the association as a "symbiotic relationship, to provide discerning audience a dose of quality and innovative programs, which will be unravelled as we move along". Well, it promises to be an association worth looking forward to.
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