With the crowd roaring "Sachin, Sachin", and leaflets and cut-outs saluting him, batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar was Saturday felicitated by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) at the Eden Gardens for scoring a century of international hundreds.
Tendulkar was presented a golden bat and ball by Banerjee, while CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya gifted hundred guineas - one for each hundred - to the batting genius before the Indian Premier League (IPL) clash between the Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders began here.
Handing out the golden bat and a memento to Tendulkar, Banerjee called him a golden boy. "On behalf of the government of (West) Bengal, we congratulate Sachin. He is a golden boy, that's why we have given him a golden bat and a ball. We salute you for your achievements. We are all so proud of you," said Banerjee who was accompanied by several of her ministers.
Much to the delight of the near capacity galleries, Tendulkar said 'Bhaloachi' (I am well) in Bengali and thanked the Eden Gardens crowd for their support to him.
"Thank you all for the all the support I have seen over the years. It has been a pleasure playing here throughout the 23 years of my career. I will always cherish these memories. I hope you will continue to support me and the Indian team like you always have," said a beaming Tendulkar.
On the occasion he was also presented with a portrait by eminent painter Sanatan Dinda. Railway Minister Mukul Roy gifted him Rabindranath Tagore's Gitanjali. Dalmiya also handed the champion player with a plaque with words "century of centuries" engraved on it.
Giant cut-outs of Tendulkar with the words "CAB felicitates Sachin" adorned important junctions of the city. Similar leaflets were also strewn across the galleries inside the stadium.