Tendulkar, Dhoni to fly in Sukhoi combat jets

June 30th, 2011 - 9:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Sachin Tendulkar New Delhi, June 30 (IANS) India’s cricket icons Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will soon add another feather to their caps by flying in the Indian Air Force’s frontline Sukhoi combat planes.

The defence ministry has given its nod for the two cricketing stars ride on the fighter jet, most likely from its homebase of Lohegaon near Pune, Maharashtra, an IAF officer said here Thursday.

“The defence ministry has approved the proposal for Tendulkar and Dhoni to fly in the Su-30MKI jets,” the officer said.

“The flights will most probably take place in Pune,” the officer added.

The dates of the flights are yet to be finalised, as both the members of the Indian cricket team will have to be free from their commitments with the side.

Tendulkar has already been conferred with the honorary rank of an IAF group captain, which is equivalent to that of a colonel in the army. Dhoni has been offered the honorary rank of lieutenant colonel.

Dhoni is captaining the Indian team on a three Test series in the West Indies. Tendulkar, who was rested for the series, is on a personal visit to Britain, where he will join the team for a Test and ODI series in England.

The armed forces have in recent years honoured India’s 1983 cricket World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev and Malayalam film star Mohan Lal with honorary ranks of lieutenant colonel in the Territorial Army.

President Pratibha Patil, who is the supreme commander of the armed forces, and her predecessor, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, have previously flown in the supersonic SU-30 air superiority fighter jet of Russian orgin.

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