Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar who is successfully leading the Mumbai Indians, which is currently topping the Indian Premier League-III (IPL-III), is enjoying full support here clearly overshadowing the local team Kings XI Punjab.
Although some of his fans are anxious about his fitness since during the last match against Chennai Super Kings, Tendulkar had complained of fatigue and dehydration, they are keeping their fingers crossed to see this master in action at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium in Mohali on Friday evening.
Tendulkar, who will turn 37 on April 24, had left the field while batting (during the last match), but came back later when Mumbai Indians were struggling to save the match.
"Obviously Tendulkar is the best cricketer of all times and we really doubt that India could find his replacement in the future. He is like god to us and even our coach shows us recorded tapes of Sachin's match-winning innings to enthuse confidence in us," Sidhartha Sharma (16), a budding cricketer from Patiala town in Punjab, told IANS.
"I wanted to take his autograph and talk to him but I could not catch him at PCA. Therefore, I will go to the team's hotel with my friends and try to meet him," said Sharma.
There were a bunch of young cricketers who were thrilled after bowling with Tendulkar at PCA stadium Thursday evening.
"It was a rare honour for me when I shared nets with Sachin and bowled several overs to him. It was a dream come true for me and even my family members are equally excited. Sachin also talked to us for sometime and gave us many batting tips," said 11-year-old Shubman.
Akhil Jain, another 17-year-old young cricketer, said: "He is so calm and composed on the field. Even at this age he is very agile and his reflexes are better than any other youngster. It was a great learning experience while bowling to him on the nets."
So far, Mumbai Indians have emerged as favourites in the IPL-III after winning seven out of their nine matches. Their Friday's opponents Kings XI Punjab, however, are tottering at last place registering only two wins in their ten outings.
The disappointing performance of Kings XI has disappointed their fans and now many of them are supporting Tendulkar's Mumbai Indians.
"I am a die-hard supporter of Kings XI and I have watched all their IPL matches at PCA. But today I will support Mumbai Indians because they are the genuine favourites of this tournament and they have proved this with their performance," a young cricket enthusiast Subodh Sharma told IANS.
He added: "We are praying that Tendulkar will get fit to play in the match and we want him to score a century today. We also want Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) to score quick runs and to take early wickets."
Shipra Petkar, an engineering student, told IANS: "Kings XI has totally let us down with their miserable performance. They are already out of this tournament so what is the need to support them? We want the Tendulkar-led Mumbai Indians to win the game. Tendulkar is still our favourite and we all love him very much."