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Permanent seat for Dhoni at Wankhede

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s name will be etched in the annals of the Wankhede stadium forever.

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Dhoni, who hit the famous six in the final against Sri Lanka to win India the 2011 World Cup at the Wankhede, is set to get a permanent seat at the iconic venue.

Mumbai Cricket Association Apex Council member Ajinkya Naik came up with the suggestion to have this unique tribute to Dhoni who retired from international cricket on August 15.

Naik has sent a letter to the MCA on his plans to have the seat painted in a different colour where the six landed and have it decorated to honour Dhoni.

The suggestion will be taken up at the MCA’s Apex Council meeting in Mumbai today. The council will also discuss plans for a cricket museum at the Wankhede.

“I thought since Mahendra Singh Dhoni has just retired it would be a perfect opportunity to pay him a tribute and I plan to raise this proposal at today’s meeting,” Naik tells Harish Kotian/Rediff.com.

This will be the first time in India that a seat in the stadium will be named after a player, though the tradition has been followed in New Zealand and Australia.

Naik said he took a cue from New Zealand’s Eden Park stadium in Auckland, where they honoured Grant Elliott’s match-winning six in the 2015 World Cup semi-final against South Africa by painting the seat green where the ball had landed.

“On the same lines,”adds Naik, “we should plan something for Dhoni who hit that six to win the World Cup for India.”

Simon O’Donell: O’Donnell was honoured with a yellow seat at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to celebrate his 122-metre six for Victoria over New South Wales in Australian domestic cricket in 1993.

Brad Hodge: Melbourne Renegade’s Hodge, who hit a 96-metre six in a Big Bash League T20 game, got a seat painted in red in his name at the Etihad stadium in Melbourne in 2018.

Grant Elliott” New Zealand’s Elliott, who hit Dale Steyn for a six to win the 2015 World Cup semi-final against South Africa, has a seat painted in green at the Eden Park Stadium in Auckland.

There is also a plaque behind the ‘Grant Elliot Seat’ which reads ‘Here Lies the Resting Place of Grant Elliott’s Mighty Six That Propelled the Blackcaps on March 24, 2015, into their maiden World Cup Final’.

“Wankhede is a historic stadium, it has seen a lot of great moments for Indian cricket,” says Naik. “Along with the museum, we are also planning a stadium tour in the future, so the M S Dhoni seat can be a great addition to the whole concept.”

If Naik’s proposal is approved, then the Sunil Gavaskar stand, Sachin Tendulkar stand, Vijay Merchant stand, Polly Umrigar gate and Vinoo Mankad gate will soon have the M S Dhoni seat for company!

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