As a cricket idol Sachin Tendulkar is pretty much accustomed to having countless fans across the world. Yet, a shy person that he is, he might be pleasantly surprised to know that there's a 'Tendulkar fan club' within the England team.
Ravi Bopara, Owais Shah and Monty Panesar, all cricketers with a definite Asian link, form this fan club and all of them have openly acknowledged their admiration for the Little Master.
Bopara, the 22-year-old Essex all-rounder who is returning to the England side for the first time after the World Cup following a thigh injury, is excited at the prospect to squaring up against Tendulkar in a big game.
"I'm very excited about facing him in an international for the first time," said Bopara.
"It's something I've always wanted to do. Playing against your hero is something you remember for the rest of your life, so I can't wait."
Owais Shah who plays for Middlesex has been equally charmed by the man who has already scored over 25,000 international runs and has a collective tally of 78 hundreds.
"It's a great privilege to be playing against him. Watching him is an education in itself," said Shah.
Incidentally, both Bopara and Shah - along with Joe Denly sought out Tendulkar for a few words of wisdom during India's warm up game against England Lions at Chelmsford ahead of the Test series.