Tendulkar spends time with 14 from Mathru Foundation

As Sachin Tendulkar looked to the heavens upon reaching yet another milestone, of the teeming thousands that applauded in wild delight was a group of green-shirted youths on the edge of the boundary. For these 14 from Mathru Foundation, a trust for people with physical disabilities, Sunday saw the fulfilment of a long-held desire, a privilege few can dream of: meeting the great man himself.

Tendulkar, along with S. Sreesanth, Rahul Dravid, Murali Vijay, Pragyan Ojha, Suresh Raina and M.S. Dhoni, spent 10 minutes with them shaking hands and signing autographs, after the second day's play had drawn to a close.

For Malathi Holla, paraplegic sportsperson, it was a gratifying experience.

“They are crazy about Tendulkar,” she said. “I'm happy I could fulfil this small dream of theirs. It is something we tried hard for.”

Former India wicket-keeper Syed Kirmani, a patron of the foundation, was instrumental in making it happen, according to Ms. Holla.

“I handed Tendulkar a copy of my biography, and asked him to go through it whenever he found the time,” she said. “But he said he knew everything about me,” she said.

Shareef, one of the 14, was ecstatic. “He asked me for my name and where I was from,” he said. Somu, another, said he spoke to Raina, who was his favourite player. “I wished him all the best for tomorrow, and told him to bat well,” she said.

Ms. Holla, pleased for her wards, was also struck by Tendulkar's humility. “Imagine him knowing of me,” she gushed. “So humble, so human,” she said.

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