Mumbai, Apr 24: Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar turned 41 today and will be celebrating his birthday in his home town in the midst of Indian Premier League action in the United Arab Emirates after being with his franchise Mumbai Indians in the initial phase of the T20 league.
Tendulkar had returned from the UAE two days ago, according to sources close to him, and is celebrating his birthday with his family and friends in the city.
This is the first birthday for the cricket great after he quit all forms of cricket in November 2013 after playing his 200th and final Test at his home ground, Wankhede Stadium, here against the West Indies.
The Indian cricket board (BCCI) had cobbled together the hastily arranged two-game series against the Caribbean islanders to give a befitting send-off to the legend.
Jam-packed crowd gave Tendulkar a rousing adieu and the cricketer himself was emotional as he gave a stirring speech watched by his adoring fans in the crowd and by million others on TV after going to the middle of the pitch and paying obeisance to it in a symbolic gesture that touched the hearts of one and all.
Tendulkar hung up his boots after a glittering international career that saw him amass 15,921 runs in Tests, at an average of 53.78, and 18426 runs in 463 ODIs at an average of 44.83.
He had scored 100 centuries during his international with Test matches accounting for 51 of those, the most by any batsman in the world. He was the part of 2011 World Cup winning squad captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. His 49 ODI tons is also a world record.
The Bharat Ratna recipient, the first Indian sports person to get the highest civilian honour, has been seen in public on very few occasions after his retirement.
However, as a sign that he’s got other interests after quitting cricket as a player, he has now got involved in the IPL-style football league promoted by MI’s owners Reliance Industries and IMG with the backing of the All India Football Federation.
A Rajya Sabha member, Tendulkar is now the joint owner of the Kochi franchise of the team in the Indian Super League and has stated his intention that he will ever remain a sportsman at heart.
“I will always remain a sportsman at heart who is keen to positively impact the sporting fabric of the nation. The Indian Super League presents a great opportunity to develop a platform for the youngsters to learn and enhance their talent to develop into outstanding players.
“It has been an interesting experience interacting with the young, passionate team at PVP Ventures led by Prasad Potluri. Based on the various insights shared by the team, the opportunity of the Kochi club seemed like a compelling and challenging proposition. With the Kochi club, we will strive to ‘score our goals’ and play a part in developing the game of football across the country,” Tendulkar had said when the winning bids for various franchise were announced earlier this month.
Tendulkar is now set to leave for England to lead Marylebone Cricket Club against the Rest of the World XI, to be captained by his former rival and friend Australian leg-spin great Shane Warne in the Bicentenary 50-over celebratory match on July 5 at Lord’s.
Tendulkar and Warne are both honorary Life Members of MCC.