Chants of ‘ Sachin, Sachin’ returned to the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday evening as a life-size statue of former India captain Sachin Tendulkar was unveiled at his ‘home ground’.
A splash of colourful confetti and the rhythmic beats of the ‘ dhol’ gave a festive fervour to the ceremony as a rather emotional Tendulkar, who was joined by his wife Anjali and daughter Sara, waved at the crowd for their love and support.
Positioned adjacent to the stand named after him, the statue captures Tendulkar in the act of playing a stroke, and has been crafted by artist Pramod Kamble, who hails from Ahmednagar.
In the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, former BCCI and MCA head Sharad Pawar, BCCI office-bearers - vice-president Rajeev Shukla and secretary Jay Shah - a nostalgic Tendulkar thanked the Mumbai Cricket Association for the honour and also remembered the first time he visited the iconic venue as a 10-year-old.
“My first visit to the Wankhede Stadium was way back in 1983 and I was just 10 years old. The West Indies had come to India after the World Cup and the excitement was there. My brother’s friends from Bandra - all in their 30s or 40s - decided to watch the match and I was also asked to tag along. I went along with them, enjoyed the game from the North Stand and while coming back home, I heard someone say, ‘ Achha manage kiya, na?’ (We managed it well, no?),” Tendulkar reminisced.
“Then I realised that there were 25 of us, and we had only 24 tickets for the match, and they sneaked me in. After that I also got a chance to play at the Wankhede Stadium…”
As the Master Blaster shared some more anecdotes, he also revealed that he decided against taking over as the India captain in 2007 as his body was giving him ‘a lot of trouble’.
“I remember having a meeting with Mr. Pawar (who, back then, was the BCCI president) in England and I told him that as a player, my leadership role will always be there. Only the captain tag won’t be there. But at this stage, I don’t think I can last the whole day as both my ankles were giving trouble. That’s the reason, I suggested that (MS) Dhoni be made the captain and the rest is history…”
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