Wankhede diaries: When fans endured a route shock, courtesy MS Dhoni

India's limited overs skipper, one of the biggest crowd pullers at Wankhede Stadium, avoids 100-odd photograph-seeking fans by taking a different route to the dressing room after training on Saturday

Ever since Sachin Tendulkar retired from cricket in 2013, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli have become the biggest crowd pullers for Mumbaikars at the Wankhede Stadium. However, the 100-odd fans who came to watch their demigods practice in the searing heat on Saturday afternoon, were left high and dry after India's limited overs skipper Dhoni avoided them.

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As soon as they saw Dhoni taking the long walk back to the dressing room, the fans geared up chanting, 'Dhoni... Dhoni' near the barricaded staircase. However, a tired Dhoni decided to take the staircase leading to the visitors' dressing room, much to the displeasure of the fans.

Kohli, meanwhile, was gracious in obliging fans for selfies and autographs. Others like Harbhajan Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and South Africa's Hashim Amla were also seen posing with fans. Suresh Raina, in fact, went all the way to the area near the visitors' dressing room to pose with a handful fans there after he had clicked multiple selfies with the fans waiting near the India's dressing room.

Vengsarkar leaving no stone unturned
MUMBAI Cricket Association (MCA) vice-president and former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar, donning the iconic Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) hat, was seen taking stock of things ahead of today's India versus South Africa ODI at the Wankhede Stadium.

MS Dhoni (left) shares a light moment with Dilip Vengsarkar during a practice session at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday
MS Dhoni (left) shares a light moment with Dilip Vengsarkar during a practice session at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday

Also read: 4th ODI is one game we played well in all departments, says MS Dhoni

"We are trying our best to provide a spectator-friendly experience. We have roped in a housekeeping firm to ensure everything is neat and clean. "I took a round of the stands to see for myself whether the seats are clean. I also went to see the hygiene in the toilets. Ex-cricketers will be seated in the Garware Pavilion Tier III and Grand Stand as there is a hospitality facility there," Vengsarkar told SUNDAY mid-day.

Proteas hooked on to rugby semis
Though the South Africans have an important clash today, the Proteas had plans to be glued to their television screens on Saturday, cheering for their rugby team, who took on New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup semi-final in London.

Hashim Amla said they will be following the action from their hotel rooms. "Guys have made a great effort in rugby. It is a big moment for South Africa. There are a lot of rugby fans in our team as well. Surely, it will be exciting and lot of guys will follow it keenly," said Amla.

Dharmasena practices umpiring
It's not just players who believe that practice makes perfect. International Cricket Council (ICC) Elite Umpire Kumar Dharmasena too was seen practising his skills when India and South Africa sweated it out in the nets on Saturday. He promptly called a no-ball whenever a bowler overstepped.

Kumar Dharmasena
Kumar Dharmasena

As part of his routine, he tried to concentrate on counting six balls of each bowler. Dharmasena also praised a few local bowlers when they beat Hashim Amla on a few occasions.

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