: The love and adulation that fans in Kerala have for cricket maestro Sachin Teudlkar were evident in full measure as he landed here for a short visit on Tuesday, in connection with the launching of the Kochi franchise of the Indian Super League.

In spite of the short notice, the ‘legend’ was mobbed by fans on arrival at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport at 8.35 a.m., so much so that he was forced to make a retreat at the request of the security personnel and had to wait for about 10 minutes before being escorted to the waiting car after reinforcements were rushed in. The scene was no different at the hotel where a suite was booked for him, as fans again jostled in large numbers to catch a glimpse of Tendulkar before he was ushered in safely.

However, it was at the Secretariat that the huge deployment of security staff and police personnel had to toil hard as Tendulkar was driven in for his meeting with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

At Secretariat

Almost all the staff of the Secretariat and hundreds of visitors were around to receive the master blaster, taking advantageous positions near the North Block, which houses the office of the Chief Minister, soon after 10 a.m.

They waited for more than an hour before Tendulkar arrived. On arrival, he was greeted with loud cheers and calls of “Sachin, Sachin” as Tendulkar was quickly escorted to the waiting lift.

Again, there was a huge crowd waiting in front of the Chief Minister’s office, leaving security personnel in a tizzy.

Tendulkar himself seemed moved by the reception accorded to him by his fans as he said, later, “Since the time I have landed here, the love and affection shown by the people has been overwhelming. In fact, I am speechless as I have no words to reflect upon the blessings showered on me. I hope this would continue in the years to come as well.”

The Little Master, through his nearly four-hour stay in the city, also called upon Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan at his official residence and was closeted with him for nearly 10 minutes before leaving for Kochi.

Mr. Achuthanandan, who lauded the efforts of Tendulkar in promoting football in the State, said the entire population of Kerala would stand by the cricketer in his new venture.