Sachin Tendulkar looks up as he positions himself for fielding while playing against Australia in their one day international cricket match in Sydney. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
If the feeling here was that the Asia Cup was not warming up, things changed on Saturday morning after news came in that the India team's flight from Mumbai had been delayed, and instead of early morning, they would reach Dhaka around noon. It was learnt that the delay of more than five hours was due to poor visibility at the Dhaka airport.
The crowd that had lined up along the team's route (from the airport to the hotel) was in for a surprise when Sachin Tendulkar alighted from the bus and led the team into the hotel. Gone were the trademark curls, and in place was longish straight hair with light golden streaks.
"Is it for luck?" Tendulkar turned around when someone from the camera crew asked, but managed only a smile. "Just trying to look young," he joked with Iftekhar Rahman, the event manager of the Asia Cup.
Tendulkar has been on the verge of his 100th international century for some time, and the people of Bangladesh are confident it will happen here and don't mind even if the milestone comes against the hosts.
On the way to the elevator, Tendulkar spotted Aminul Islam Bulbul, a former Bangladesh skipper and the first Test centurion from the country. "Are you still hitting," Tendulkar asked Aminul and stopped for a chat.
Aminul is now part of the Asian Cricket Council's cricket committee and in charge of coordinating the game's development in China. "He (Sachin) asked me what I was doing and when I told him I was working with China, he said, 'bring up China fast'."
"It will be great for the game if cricket catches up in China, Sachin told me," Aminul added.
The China U-16 team is currently playing the ACC U-16 Challenge Cup in Thailand.