Sachin Tendulkar burst onto the international cricketing stage barely a week after the Berlin Wall was desecrated. Two decades down the line, that great fall has long been consigned to the history books, but the little big man of cricket continues to make newspaper headlines.
In all probability, the Germans do not read those papers. Back in November 1989, not many in Germany would have known about the existence of cricket, a sport that rises and sets within the British Commonwealth. Perhaps the numbers had not changed much when, earlier this month, modern-day cricket’s brightest son paid a visit to the town of the Dassler brothers —Herzogenaurach—to commemorate 15 years of his association with a sportswear brand.
But by the time Tendulkar’s two-day trip came to an end, the Germans had got a fair idea of the phenomenon he is, thanks to the countrymen who mobbed the Master Blaster.
Given the billion-plus strength of our nation, one mathematically expects to find one of us among every six people on this planet. Even so, seeing so many Indians, mostly IT professionals, in a small town deep inside Bavaria, would have come as a surprise to anyone watching, especially the natives, who up until then were not used to seeing such mass hysteria.
The ‘meet and greet’ event gave Tendulkar’s compatriots a chance to get up close and personal with their icon, and they just could not have enough. Screaming and shouting, they exhibited a zeal that is typically Indian, especially when it comes to cricket.
“Even Lionel Messi hadn’t had such a reception,” observed an onlooker, who had, in the past, witnessed other sporting icons walk the tree-lined paths within the campus.