What will change after Sachin Tendulkar retires? Put this question to Sudhir Kumar Gautam, who has been following the little master since 2002, and he turns the question to himself. "I will paint 'I miss you Sachin' on my body instead of 'I love you Sachin'."
Sachin Tendulkar will retire from Test cricket after playing his 200th match against the West Indies at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium in November. He is here to play his last Ranji Trophy match against Haryana starting from Sunday.
Gautam, 30, who reached Lahli on Saturday, has a wish for Tendulkar. "I pray to the Almighty that my cricket idol score a double century in this match and make the Mumbai team victorious," he said. Gautam with his face painted in colours of the national flag kept waving the Tricolour till Tendulkar practiced.
Later, he told Hindustan Times, "I am the biggest fan of 'cricket god' and has been following him since 2002. I have witnessed several international matches in which Tendulkar played in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. I have not missed a single match in India since 2006."
The die-hard Tendulkar's fan, who works in a private company, said: "I take leave to watch Tendulkar's matches and my trips and tickets are sponsored by the Indian Team."
On his first meeting with Tendulkar, Gautam said he met the master blaster for the first time in 2002 and since then he became his fan and vowed to support Sachin for promoting cricket. "Tendulkar is magnanimous off the field as he gave me the opportunity to lift the 2011 World Cup in the dressing room," Gautam said.
On Tendulkar's retirement, he said cricket would not remain the same. And then left the stadium around 2.30pm in his signature style of blowing a conch.