Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar is addressed as the god of cricket by his fans but a village in southwestern Bihar has already started worshipping him as one by installing his statue.
Bhojpuri actor and singer Manoj Tiwary and Kaimur district magistrate Arvind Kumar Singh on Tuesday unveiled a life-sized (5.5 feet) statue of the Master Blaster at Tiwary’s village Atarwalia, in Kaimur district, about 170km southwest of state capital Patna.
Tendulkar retired on November 16 after playing his 200th and final Test match against the West Indies in Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.
The white marble statue, which dons the official blue jersey of the Indian national cricket team, weighs 850kg and was crafted at Rajasthan's Nathdwara at the cost of Rs. 8.5 lakh. It has been installed on a 10-feet high brick platform.
Tiwary also laid foundation for a temple which will be contructed to house Tendulkar's statue. The idols of Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and star player Yuvraj Singh would also be installed in the temple after its completion.
The temple will be constructed in a 15,000-square feet area owned by Tiwary's family.
According to Tiwary, acquisition of 17 acres of land for a sports academy and a stadium close to the "Sachin temple" is in final stages and would be handed over to the district administration soon.
The construction of the temple, academy and cricket ground would be completed within six months by Cricket Mandir Trust, formed for the purpose, Tiwary claimed.
“Here the rural talent of south Bihar, Jharkhand and adjacent Uttar Pradesh will get advanced sports training free of cost and will be inspired by the idols of great cricketing legends,” Tiwary said claiming that Atarwalia is the first place in the world where a life sized statue of Sachin had been installed and would be worshipped like God.
Small statues of all members of 2011 World Cup winning Indian team would also be installed in the temple, he added.
The DM assured that a motorable road would soon link Atarwalia to rest of the state. He also announced that the construction of the stadium will begin as soon as the land was acquired and handed over to the administration.
Association of Bihar Cricket's general secretary Mithilesh Tiwary, industrialist Rakesh Kumar, academician Sudhir Mishra, senior government officials and fans of Tendulkar from UP, Jharkhand, Mumbai and Delhi also were also present during the programme.