Melbourne: Long retired from the game but Sachin Tendulkar's mere presence was good enough for a near-capacity crowd to go hysterical during India's World Cup game against South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, here today.
Having retired from international cricket in November, 2013, Tendulkar hasn't dropped in for international matches often and therefore the legend's presence at the iconic venue was just the icing on the cake that the fans needed in such a marquee match.
Sachin Tendulkar. Pic/Atul Kamble
Tendulkar is the 'Brand Ambassador' of World Cup and once he arrived, he was quickly whisked away to the ICC's Hospitality Zone with tight security in place.
However the moment the MCG giant screen showed Tendulkar, clad in violet shirt and dark trousers, enjoying the match, the chants of "Sachiiin, Sachiiin" were back again.
It seemed that he never retired. When his image was flashed for the second time on the giant screen, he did wave at the crowd and it was met with deafening applause.
While the lucky ones in the ICC Hospitality Box got their share of selfies and autographs, the ones outside had to be content by clicking the 'Master' picture.
For Sachin, it seems as if he has now completed a 'Circle of Life' with the World Cup. In 1987, he was present at the Wankhede Stadium during the semi-finals as a ball boy and then was an integral part in the next six editions.
Today, he was again back to cheering his team. In person, he was not on turf, in spirit, he was very much there.