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Rediff.com  » Sports » Dhoni buys stake in Ranchi franchise of Hockey India League

Dhoni buys stake in Ranchi franchise of Hockey India League

Last updated on: October 25, 2014 16:45 IST

Mahendra Singh Dhoni unveils Ranchi Rays jersey on Saturday

Mahendra Singh Dhoni unveils Ranchi Rays jersey on Saturday. Photograph: Hockey India League/Facebook

After investing in motorsports and football, Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has now lent his support to Indian hockey after buying the Ranchi franchise of the Hockey India League (HIL).

Dhoni purchased the team along with Sahara India Pariwar, who already is the owner of the Uttar Pradesh Wizards team.

The new Ranchi franchise will be known as 'Ranchi Rays' from third edition of the HIL to be held in January-February next year.

Dhoni unveiled the team logo and jersey at a city hotel to mark the event.

As part of the arrangement, Dhoni is the principal owner of the new Ranchi franchise and Sahara are expected to provide logistical support to the team.

The previous Ranchi franchise known as Ranchi Rhinos, who were the inaugural champions of HIL, was scrapped following a distrust between previous owners Patel-PS Group and Uniexcel Group and league organisers Hockey India (HI).

Besides cricket, Dhoni already has invested in two other sports -- Mahi Racing and recently became co-owner of Indian Super League side Chennayin FC.

Talking about his association with hockey, Dhoni said, "It is a special day for me, the reason being today I became associated with hockey and own the Ranchi team.

"It is a real pleasure to be associated with hockey. My first and foremost responsibility is to play cricket, but being a sportsperson my natural inclination is to promote sports," he added.

Dhoni said he would like to retain most of the players of Ranchi Rhinos but his main purpose behind this initiative is to nurture the natural hockey talent of the state.

"The performance of Ranchi team in the last two years has been very good. I was born and brought up in Ranchi so when this opportunity came to own the city's hockey team, I didn't think twice," he said.

"My main aim behind this initiative is to develop hockey in this region. We need to develop hockey at the grassroots level. We, Ranchi Rays will try to provide infrastructure and proper platform to harness the talent of this region."