‘I will never let his absence be felt’:
He has stowed away on trains and paddled his way to cricket venues, and for Sudhir Chaudhary, one of the greatest fans of Sachin Tendulkar, the retirement of his god will not stop him from cheering the Indian team in 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 waive tri-colour in every match India play at home. ‘Miss U Tendulkar 10’ will be written on my back,” Sudhir said.
The superfan was speaking from Kochi, where he will be seen cheering Team India in the first ODI against the 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 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.