(This story originally appeared in on Jul 9, 2020)

MUMBAI: The Pandya brothers – Krunal and Hardik – chartered a flight from Vadodara to wish Mahendra Singh Dhoni on his birthday on Tuesday. As briefly reported elsewhere in this paper, the two India players landed in Ranchi on Tuesday evening.
Accompanying them was Pankhuri, Krunal’s wife. There was no immediate information if Hardik’s wife, NataSa Stankovic , too was with the group. It is believed that she stayed away as she is expecting a baby. The Pandyas spent Tuesday night with the Dhonis.
Straight to farm house
The Pandyas landed at around five in the evening and straightaway drove to Dhoni’s farm house, about 10 km from the airport. Sticking to the lockdown protocols, they maintained social distancing and did not accept flowers and bouquets, nor shook hands with anyone on arrival. Wearing masks, they got into the two vehicles waiting for them. It was obvious that Dhoni was aware of the visit. He had made their travel arrangements.
“It’s a sweet gesture by the two. I did not know about it but, I can tell you their (the Pandyas) heart is at the right place,” Shishir Hattangadi, the CEO of the Baroda Cricket Association, told Mirror. A BCCI official said it spoke of the bond among the players and the respect Dhoni commands from teammates. By the way, Hardik is also believed to have informed the ICC via the BCCI about the trip, as mandated by the whereabouts anti-doping disclosures.
Understandably, the Pandyas have followed all other lockdown guidelines too. It is understood that the lockdown protocols in Ranchi mandate people flying to Ranchi to give an undertaking that they will return in 72 hours. Regular flights to the city are also being allowed. Besides, two Rajdhani Express trains are going through the city every day.

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