Mumbai: Mahendra Singh Dhoni's popularity is not just restricted to cricket lovers, but the Manchester United team also admires the Indian skipper.
It can be gauged from the fact that the Red Devils' players willingly gave their hand impressions and autographs for an abstract painting, which was auctioned recently for Dhoni Charitable Foundation during a gala dinner promoted by Jean Mairet & Gillman before the first Test against England at Lord's.
The Sacha Jafri painting, which also had hand impressions of leading run-scorers and wicket-takers, fetched the highest - 2,60,000 pounds bid. The proceeds of the painting will go towards building a sports academy by Dhoni in Jharkhand.
"Many top Man United footballers like Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and their manager Alex Ferguson supported Dhoni's cause wholeheartedly and willingly gave their hand impressions and signatures for the painting.
Legendary Indian painter MF Hussain also put his signature in the painting. It was probably the last activity he participated in before passing away," Ankush Dhelia, a spokesperson for Dhoni's Foundation, told MiD DAY.
The unique artwork commemorated the incredible career of India's batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar.
According to Dhelia, Dhoni's World Cup final bat, batting gloves, a ball signed by Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan, a one-hour net session with Dhoni, dinner with Dhoni and his wife Sakshi, actor John Abraham's helmet and a bat signed by the World Cup-winning team also went under the hammer.