Wicketkeeper Dhoni's home attacked after Indian loss
Sun Mar 18, 8:20 AM ET
Furious Indian cricket fans stormed the home of national wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to protest a five-wicket rout by Bangladesh in their opening World Cup match, police said.
Some 200 fans Sunday brought down walls and pillars of Dhoni's house, which is under construction, in the eastern city of Ranchi to protest the 26-year-old player's performance in India's shocking defeat in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
India were all out for 191, with Dhoni returning to the pavilion without scoring in India's match Saturday, a shock to the cricket-mad country of 1.1 billion people.
"Dhoni die, die," protesters chanted, burning effigies of the long-maned player, who has scored 1,958 runs in 68 one-day international matches and is counted among India's most aggressive batsmen, an AFP reporter at the site reported.
Dhoni's hometown, Ranchi, is the capital of Jharkhand state, which last year gave Dhoni a 360 square metre (4,000 square feet) plot of land to build a house on.
The protesters screamed anti-Dhoni slogans and demanded the withdrawal of the prime residential plot worth five million rupees (110,000 dollars).
"It seems Dhoni is banking more on modelling than wicketkeeping and batting," said Sohan Mahto, one of the protesters.
State authorities, meanwhile, deployed paramilitary units at the nearby home of the under-fire player's family to prevent possible attacks, a police spokesman said.
Similar protests were reported from the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, where irate fans were out on the streets after India's humiliating defeat, the Press Trust of India said.
They burned effigies of Indian captain Rahul Dravid and screamed slogans against out-of-form batsman Virender Sehwag, who scored just two runs before being bowled out.
"They have betrayed the faith of the entire nation," the fans chanted.
"Players like Sehwag should not be taken into the team," the news agency quoted one fan as saying.
Protests were also reported in the eastern city of Kolkata.
The dream victory was Bangladesh's biggest in the tournament since making their debut in 1999. They beat Pakistan in England in that tournament, but there were later suspicions of match-fixing.
Dravid's India will now have to comprehensively beat debutants Bermuda and seasoned Sri Lanka to stay in the World Cup trophy chase.