An overenthusiastic fan ran onto the field to touch the feet of Mahendra Singh Dhoni while the stands reverberated with his name as the ’keeper-batsman, leading an India team for one last time, conjured up an innings that had 'MSD' written all over it.
During the first warm-up match between India ‘A’ and England, a fan at the Brabourne Stadium, ran on to the field and bent to touch Dhoni's feet, and when the skipper told him not to step on the pitch, he obliged by jumping over.
The man was escorted out of the playing area by the police and then taken out of the stadium. The overwhelmed man stumbled his way out, constantly turning back to catch a glimpse of his hero.
"No further action was taken," Cricket Club of India sources said.
Any routine practice match, especially on a working day, may not have witnessed a crowd as big as this, but the one featuring the visiting England team on Wednesday was a special one -- it was the final time that India's most successful skipper Dhoni was leading the side, albeit an 'A' team.
And the stadium in South Mumbai was packed as fans came to witness 'Captain Cool' for one last time at the helm.
Dhoni had bludgeoned his way to an unbeaten 68 by the time the India A innings ended.
The Ranchi superstar and captain of the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup-winning teams was leading the India ‘A’ side in the first of two warm-up matches against England.
For a match that had free entry, serpentine queues were formed at the gates of the CCI. Initially, the East Stand was filled to capacity.
Then the crowd thronged the North Stand at the Churchgate station end. As the day progressed, the West stand too was occupied.
As the first wicket of Mandeep Singh fell, the crowds cheered "Dhoni-Dhoni" as they expected MSD to elevate himself, but much to their disappointment Ambati Rayadu walked in.
Dhoni, who sprang a surprise on the cricket-crazy nation by quitting as the limited overs skipper last week, was seen playing football with his teammates during the practice session in on Monday. He also practised in the nets under lights.
Irrespective of which batsman was at the crease, the crowd was only cheering for Dhoni and was keen to have the glimpse of their favourite leader for the one last time.