Sachin mania grips Haryana's Lahli

The countdown to Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement has begun and this small town in Haryana is decked up to play host to the maestro’s last first class match, beginning tomorrow. There is an unprecedented demand for tickets for the Ranji Trophy clash between Mumbai and Haryana, and in all likelihood, thousands of fans will return empty-handed and be forced to watch the game on TV.

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar at the Wankhede on Wednesday. Pic/Suresh KK.

Ramsaran Malhotra, 65, on whose land the Haryana Cricket Association (HCA) has constructed the stadium on, has never experienced something like this before. “The HCA has given me 55 passes, but thousands of people have approached me for them. I am getting numerous calls every day. Even today I received more than a hundred calls. Even ladies here who generally don’t follow cricket want to watch Sachin play. Absolutely nobody wants to miss this chance,” Malhotra toldĀ MiD DAY yesterday.

Malhotra, a wealthy farmer, has always been accorded VIP treatment whenever a match is held here. But he has never faced such a tough situation as far as passes are concerned.

“Even those with whom I have strained relationships have called me for passes, ” he added. “I used to grow mustard right where the pitch is situated and sold the land very cheap. But ever since the stadium came up, the rates of land have shot up.”

Just like Malhotra, the sarpanch of Lahli, Bahadur Singh, is a much sought after man these days. “I have received 225 passes. But the demand is so high that it’s very difficult to keep everyone happy. I have to distribute these passes amongst committee members and women representatives. However, we will try over best to accommodate every one during the four-day game, ” said Singh.

Tendulkar to stay in CM’s suite
“Sachin’s BMW just entered the city.” This message flashed on the wireless at 6:15 pm and the entire police machinery present there was ready to welcome Tendulkar to Rohtak’s Canal Rest House.

“We have given him the CM’s suite that has a long drawing room and attached bedroom. It has a dining hall also,” a senior rest house officer told MiD DAY yesterday. A butler from ITC Mauyra has especially travelled from Delhi to serve Tendulkar.

Tendulkar along with Zaheer Khan, Ajinkya Rahane, Abhishek Nayar and Wasim Jaffer reached Lahli from Delhi. The police are not taking any chances with the security for their high profile guest. “Tonight more force will reach here. We will take no chances. We want to ensure Sachin has a safe and pleasant stay here,” Vikas Dhankhad, the superintendent of police said.

SRT's Mumbai mates may not see him bat in Mumbai Test
While the cricketing world will have their eyes on Sachin Tendulkar, who will play his last international match against West Indies from November 14-18, his Mumbai teammates would be deprived of watching the iconic batsman’s final moments as they would be slugging it out against Delhi in their third Ranji Trophy encounter (Nov 14-17) at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground around the same time as the Test.

The only possibility for Mumbai players to see Tendulkar bat for one last time would be on the final day of the Test.

— A Correspondent

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