With the sudden prospect of Sachin Tendulkar coming to the crease padded up on second day of his final Test Match against the West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, several fans in Chennai are altering their plans, and even spending extra cash, to catch the iconic sportsman in action.
One such dedicated fan R. Akshay, who works for a telecom company, had originally planned to watch the match in Mumbai on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
He had already booked his flight tickets to Mumbai for Friday, and had hotel reservations for three days, convinced that the last three days of the match were his best chance of catching Sachin Tendulkar bat.
“But now it looks like it is tomorrow or never again,” said Akshay, who cancelled his tickets and changed his plans so as to reach Mumbai on Friday morning. The fresh bookings cost him more than Rs.13,000 and he will have to take a cab directly to Wankhade Stadium from the airport after arriving at 5 a.m.. “But it is money well spent and effort worth taking. Anything to catch a final glimpse of Sachin batting.” Akshay has been to cricket matches featuring Sachin Tendulkar before, and his two favourite memories of watching the master batsman at a stadium are his 103 not out against England in Chepauk on December 15, 2008 and his century against England in Bangalore during the ODI World Cup against the same opposition on February 27, 2011.
Senior advocate from Chennai, P. K. Bhaskar, a partner at the law firm HSB Partners, who was in Mumbai for a professional obligation, extended his stay by a day after having watched Tendulkar remain unbeaten in the Test Match on Thursday.
“Sachin is unlikely to do an Imran Khan. He is going to retire just once from the game,” he said. “I am taking my flight back to Chennai on Friday afternoon. But I will go to the stadium in the morning and hopefully, catch a substantial share of Sachin’s batting.”
A number of fans are also taking sudden leave of absence from work but are not leaving any one guessing. “A lot of my colleagues in Chennai and also in Bangalore have taken leave,” said S. Koushik, who works for an IT firm. “But it is clear from their Facebook status messages that they are watching the match.”