Forgotten heroes? No invite to Mumbai legends at statue unveiling : The Tribune India

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Forgotten heroes? No invite to Mumbai legends at statue unveiling

Forgotten heroes? No invite to Mumbai legends at statue unveiling

Sachin Tendulkar during the felicitation ceremony at the Wankhede Stadium.



Tribune News Service

Rohit Mahajan

Mumbai, November 2

Before the game began, Sunil Gavaskar, having done his pre-match analysis for TV, walked out of the ground; casting his eye left and high, he’d have been confronted by the huge statue of Sachin Tendulkar, the man who hero-worshipped him.

The statue was unveiled by Tendulkar yesterday, in the presence of a battalion of officials, politicians and cops — but cricketers were conspicuous by their absence at the event. Tendulkar’s former teammates such as Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were not invited; former Indian captains and Mumbai stalwarts such as Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar and Ravi Shastri were not invited.

Tendulkar made up for the absence of his hero, Gavaskar, during the 18-odd minutes that he spoke, with words of praise and reverence for the former Indian captain. He reminisced about Gavaskar inviting him to the dressing room in 1987, when he was just 14.

Fans of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.

But was it an unfortunate oversight or a deliberate decision that left former and current greats uninvited yesterday? Whatever the reason, it is learnt that the former Mumbai greats are not amused at being forgotten.

“There is no excuse for the former cricketers such as Shastri, Vengsarkar and Sandeep Patil not being invited,” said a source familiar with the development. “They were in the town, too. It’s strange.”

The Indian team, too, was in town — at the ground itself, in fact — and yet it wasn’t invited. That could be the reason captain Rohit Sharma expressed absolute indifference about the unveiling of the statue of a man he looks up to. Rohit seems to have barely noticed the statue yesterday. His comments on the statue evoked laughter, which he himself joined with his characteristic guffaw. “I haven’t even seen the shot yet. It’s over cover, is it?” he said. “Straight lofted shot? Ah, yes.”

“Now what should I say in that? Straight lofted shot statue has been made there,” he added. “It’s nice. I hope you guys enjoyed it.”

Misplaced statue?

A few more words on the statue — it is placed inside the stadium, which means only those who buy tickets can get to see it; sporting statues across the world are generally outside the stands, such as at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, in Sydney, at Lord’s or at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in St John’s, Antigua.

Then, it’s placed at a high pedestal between stands, so no fan can simply walk up to it to get photographed with it. So it is that Sachin Tendulkar in bronze is almost as inaccessible to the fan as he is in flesh, and that’s a pity.

Shirt economy

The Wankhede stands were quite a dark shade of blue today, with Indian fans showing up in big numbers wearing the Indian team jersey. Many of them changed into the Indian shirt in the lanes leading to the stadium, paying varying prices — Rs 300 for a shirt with rough edges, Rs 600 for better ones, and Rs 1,200 for the ‘first copy’.

We met two of them, both engineers employed by a software giant, who were sporting ‘first copies’ of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma jerseys. “We don’t get paid that much!” one of them said with a laugh. But then, at the official stall, jerseys were selling for Rs 999, and they were sold out by the time the last of the spectators had got in.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Cricket #Mumbai #Sachin Tendulkar #Sunil Gavaskar


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