From Lata Mangeshkar to Lionel Cann, Sachin’s admirers span continents
New Delhi: From his awe-inspiring performances on the cricket field to his humble and down-to-earth demeanour off it, Sachin Tendulkar has undoubtedly earned the adoration and admiration of fans from around the world.
Nevertheless, there are some fans who have taken their adoration to a whole new level by going to great lengths to demonstrate their devotion.
Sachin’s bat has been like a mystical instrument that has captivated and entranced the fans, compelling them to become his ardent supporters. One of those fans is none other than legendary singer late Lata Mangeshkar.
Lata Mangeshkar was a huge cricket fan, as she had often expressed her fondness for the sport. Her passion for the game was so great that she raised funds to felicitate the 1983 World Cup heroes through a concert.
Mangeshkar, herself a Bharat Ratna awardee in 2001, couldn’t conceal her elation and enthusiasm on hearing the news that Sachin will be conferred with the highest civilian honour.
She had said: “I’ve been saying Sachin deserves the Bharat Ratna for three years now. The government couldn’t have chosen a more opportune moment to award Bharat Ratna to Sachin.”
The government made the Bharat Ratna announcement after Sachin walked out of the pavilion after playing his 200th and final Test in Mumbai.
Crowned with India’s top civilian honour, Sachin goes down in history as the first sportsperson and the youngest recipient of the award till date, surpassing late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
“Right now, the public’s emotions and sentiments for Sachin are at the highest peak. On Friday, Sachin walked out of the field for the last time. The nation wept to see him go. Believe me, I’ve never seen anything like this before.
“The emotional farewell for Sachin has now been endorsed by the Bharat Ratna. I am very happy he received it now when he is so young and has so many years ahead to enjoy the honour,” she had said.
She had also expressed her sadness when Sachin announced his retirement from cricket in 2013.
“I still say, Sachin had a few years of very good cricket within him. And I am sure everyone agrees with me. The crowds at the Wankhede Stadium were cheering for Sachin as though they wanted him to go on playing,” Mangeshkar had said.
How can one forget Sudhir Kumar Chaudhary whenever there is a talk about Sachin’s fans? He had cycled all the way from Bihar to meet his idol in 2003 and since then Sachin has helped him get tickets for every India game in the country.
With his body painted in the tri-colour at every game, his idol’s name is unmistakably etched on his body, he has been to India games since 2002.
During the 2011 World Cup, Sudhir wore a mini replica of the World Cup on his head. After India’s title triumph at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Sachin had invited him to join the post-match celebrations in the dressing room. He even had the privilege of holding the World Cup trophy.
Lionel Cann, the former Bermuda international cricketer, has also etched his name in the list of Sachin fans in the world.
When Bermuda played at the 2007 World Cup, they were drawn in the same group as India and their captain at the time confessed to hoping a catch would not be hit in Cann’s direction, he may even drop Sachin only for the pleasure of watching him bat.
During the T20 World Cup qualifiers in 2013, when Bermuda’s cricketers made headlines in the UAE after beating Scotland by 18 runs, Cann expressed his emotion at playing on the same field as the retiring Indian great.
“I’ve built my whole career around Sachin. He has kept me going. With him prolonging his career, I have went on to become a senior player. The next two days are going to be sad,” Cann had told the The National.
“As soon as you walk in the arena, and are in the same changing room as Sachin has been, and start warming up, and look at the scoreboards, you start to feel it. To bat here, to be a part of where he was, it is very emotional for me,” he said.
“I wish him all the best when he retires, and I will continue and try to pass on everything I’ve learnt from him to our youngsters.”
Despite retiring from cricket, Sachin continues to be a source of inspiration for many young cricketers and fans around the world. His legacy is not only limited to his numerous records and achievements, but also his impact on the sport and the millions of lives he has touched through his contributions.
As we celebrate the 50th birthday of the Master Blaster (April 24), it is clear that his fan following has only grown over the years, and his impact on cricket and Indian culture will continue to be felt for generations to come.
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