He has stowed away on trains and paddled his way to cricket venues but for Sudhir Chaudhary, one of the greatest fans of Sachin Tendulkar, the retirement of his “god” and legendary batsman will not stop him from cheering the Indian team in the future.
The 32-year-old has devoted his life to Tendulkar and followed him everywhere to watch his icon bat, not only in India, but sometimes pedalling his way to Bangladesh to witness a cricket match in 2007 and Lahore, Pakistan in 2006.
“I have dedicated my life to Sachin sir. I will continue to wave the Tri-Colour in every match India play at home. ‘Miss U Tendulkar 10’ will be written on my back,” Sudhir said from Kochi, where he will be seen cheering Team India in the first ODI against West Indies on Thursday.
“I will never let his absence be felt on the ground till my last breath. I will keep cheering the team with Tri-Colour painted on my body as always,” he said.
Sudhir is usually seen with his body painted in the Tri-Colour, waving the national flag and blowing the conch shell during cricket matches.
Sudhir said when Tendulkar made his way to the dressing room for the last time, he could not stop himself from crying. “I could not control myself and cried a lot. When he was delivering his farewell speech, I stood in one corner of the ground and cried.
He told me to attend his press conference the next day but the hall was so crowded that I could not meet him,” said Sudhir to whom Tendulkar had given a pair of sports shoes as souvenir just before his retirement.
“I will meet Sachin sir after returning from Kochi. He is like a living god for me,” he added.
Tendulkar had invited Sudhir into the dressing room after India’s World Cup win in 2011 at home to be pictured with him and the trophy, which made the thinly-built from Muzaffarpur famous.
Tendulkar had also ensured Sudhir’s entry into the ground during the prize distribution ceremony and his lap of honour after playing his final and 200th Test in the international arena.
“I can never forget that moment (with Tendulkar and World Cup trophy). Sachin sir has given me the memory of my lifetime. I am only one of his millions fans but it was so nice of him to do that for me. He is not only a great player but is a great human being as well,” he said.
“Cricket is like oxygen for Sachin sir and I am sure he will comeback in some other capacity to serve the game. I am waiting for that day and will continue to cheer him,” he said.