JAMMU, June 2: Indian cricket team captain Lt Col (Hony), Mohinder Singh Dhoni who is on three day visit to different defence locations in J&K, expressed his desire to serve the Army actively after he retires from the game.
An honorary rank-holder in Army, Mr Dhoni, who was inducted as Lieutenant Colonel in the elite Parachute Regiment of Indian Army last year, reached at 16 Corps headquarters here to visit the forward areas of the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch and Rajouri sectors.
He arrived at Jammu airport this morning from Delhi and straightway moved to White Knight Corps headquarters Nagrota. He first called on GOC of the 16 Corp, Lt Gen A S Nandal and then spending some time with the GOC, left for BG sector (LoC) in Cheetah Helicopter of Indian Army Aviation Corp.
Significantly, when Lt Col Dhoni was about to board the Army helicopter, his trade-mark ‘ Helicopter shot’ came into his mind and he felt delighted while sharing a word with officers accompanying him.
Talking to media-persons at Bhimber Gali in Mendhar sub sector of Poonch, Mr Dhoni expressed his desire to serve Indian Army actively. “Why I got here is because of cricket. I would like to serve actively only after cricket. I don’t want my cricket to suffer because that is something I am good at. Once my cricket career is over, I would definitely like to serve in the army,” Mr Dhoni maintained.
The World Cup winning captain will visit the Northern Command headquarters in Udhampur tomorrow before leaving for Srinagar on tour of 15 Corps. From there Dhoni will leave for 14 Corps area in Leh-Ladakh. He is likely to visit base camp of Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world.
Dhoni will also visit Baramulla district in North Kashmir tomorrow to witness the final of the first phase of Kashmir Premier League (KPL) at the Showkat Ali Stadium.
“ I have first time experienced the life of soldiers at the Line of Control. I feel proud to be part of Indian Army and love to wear this uniform. It is very exciting because I get to see the challenges the soldiers face. I knew the army from a distance. Now, I am getting to know the army from close quarters. This is the first time I have come to a forward post. I want to spend more time with the soldiers in this part of the country and the life is really tough here for them, ” he said.
Replying to a question he said, “ Most of the families of officers come here at this time of the year and I may get a chance to interact with them and I am sure the next few days would be exciting.
Commenting on the issue of Indo-Pak cricket ties, Dhoni said, “It is important to make a start because sport is something that breaks barriers. The two Boards have to decide when to play each other. I have to go out there and play. So, we will wait and see.”
Earlier, on arriving at a Hamirpur Post on the LOC in BG sector, Lt Col Dhoni accompanied by senior officers of 120 Infantry brigade spent about half an hour with the soldiers. He also had a look at the Pakistani posts on that side of the LOC with the help of binocular. Officers and jawans of a Dogra Regiment deployed there accorded warm reception to Dhoni and interacted with him. Dhoni asked the soldiers about their routine along the LOC and their experiences while guarding the borders and fighting militants. He appeared delighted while moving closer to the fence at the forward post. Dhoni had brief photo-session with the soldiers and officers and then returned to Rajouri at around 12.30 pm.
He also paid visit some forward posts in Kalsian area of Nowshera sector and will be taking night halt at Army Division Headquarters Rajouri. He would have feel of life in forward area during the night. Mr Dhoni is scheduled to visit Northern Command headquarters Udhampur tomorrow and thereafter will leave for Kashmir based Chinar Corps headquarters, Srinagar.