Dehradun: Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni tied the nuptial knot with childhood friend Sakshi Singh Rawat tonight in a private ceremony attended only by family members and close friends, including a few of his team-mates, at a farmhouse here.
The 28-year-old wicket-keeper batsman got engaged to Sakshi, a 23-year-old hotel management student, at a private ceremony last night.
The wedding at the picturesque Vishranti Resorts at Bidhauli, about 25km from here, was strictly a private affair with only 50-60 close relatives from both the families of the bride and the groom, along with few of Dhoni’s India team-mates, attending.
Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, RP Singh, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma were among Dhoni’s cricketer friends who were present at the wedding, according to a family member who attended the ceremony.
Owner of Chennai Super Kings, which was skippered by Dhoni in the IPL, and BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan was present at the ceremony.
BCCI president Shashank Manohar was also said to have attended the ceremony.
The wedding at the luxury resort had its share of glamour as Dhoni’s friend John Abraham and director-choreographer Farah Khan gracing the occasion.
The marriage rituals commenced around 8pm when Dhoni on a horseback and the groom’s party walked for around half a kilometer to the bride’s place, located at the same resort premises.
Dhoni wore a black ‘sherwani’ while Sakshi was dressed up in ‘churidar-pyjama’.
Tight security was thrown around the resort. The media was practically kept out of bounds and they had to station themselves at a 1 km distance from the main gate of the sprawling resort and the news relating to the wedding ceremony inside came out in trickles.
Even the select guests who attended the wedding ceremony were seen being brought into the resort in four vehicles kept for the purpose.
A top police official told PTI that Dhoni arrived early this morning at the farmhouse, where adequate police force has been deployed.
“We have been requested by the family members that the wedding should be totally a private affair,” said the police official.
Although family sources had indicated after the engagement that the marriage will take place in October, India’s tight schedule in the next few months might have prompted the pre-ponement.
The couple is expected to host a reception in Mumbai on July 7, which also happens to be Dhoni’s 29th birthday.
Dhoni and Sakshi, who hails from Aurangabad, had been school friends at DAV, Shamily in Ranchi.
“Their fathers worked together in MECON, and the Rawats moved to Dehradun after retirement,” a family friend said.
The Indian captain is currently enjoying a rare break from international cricket and will be next seen in action during a three-Test series against Sri Lanka scheduled to begin from July 18 at Galle.
Dhoni, who made his international debut against Bangladesh in December 2004, has so far played 43 Tests, 166 ODIs and 25 T20s.
Under his captaincy, India won the 2007 ICC World Cup Twenty20, CB Series of 2007/08, and the Border-Gavaskar trophy 2008 beating Australia 2-0.
He also captained Chennai Super Kings to victory in this year’s Indian Premier League. He is now captain of India in all three forms of the game, leading the team to its first ever bilateral ODI series wins in Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
Under his leadership, India attained the number one status in Test cricket and became number two this year in ODI rankings.
Dhoni has also been the recipient of ICC ODI Player of the Year award in 2008 and 2009 (the first Indian to achieve this feat). He was bestowed the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award and the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour in 2009.