A fully packed Eden Gardens chanted his name in unison while the cricket legend Sachin was felicitated together with other greats both from India and Pakistan as well as Bollywood celebrities ahead of the World T20.
Anytime the host announced the names, the crowd cheered but they roared more for Sachin Tendulkar. Te moment his name was announced, the whole stadium began to chant the name “Sachin, Sachin…”
It was a reminder of the past, when the famous Tendulkar has pulled out astounding moves in front of euphoric large crowds, many of whom just came to the venue so as to see him play on the 22 yards.
“Nice to see the stalwarts from Pakistan, we welcome them here … we hope for a fantastic match, let’s enjoy cricket above all,” said Tendulkar during the ceremony.
Apart from him, others that were felicitated are Pakistani stalwarts Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, Imran Khan, Indians Virender Sehwaq, Sunil Gavaskar, Amitabh bachchan and his actor-son Abhishek.
The west Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee gave each one of them a medal, a crystal pigeon as a memento and a flower bouquet.
“On behalf of the Pakistan team I thank the people of Kolkata for this warm welcome,” the 1992 World Cup winning captain, regarded as one of the best all-rounders ever, she said.
Imran referred to the Nehru Cup final of 1989 in which he said that he hoped the match would be a great one just like the above mentioned. At that time when Oakistan beat the West Indies, he was the captain.
A faux pas was made by Banerjee when she said ICCI instead of ICC.
She assured that the match would be safe and wished that Kolkata would host more of these matches.
In a brief speech, Amitabh wished for peace to be there between Pakistan and India.
He added a thank you to Banerjee for the crystal Pigeon. This bird is considered to be a symbol for peace.