Bowling them over

TRUST THIS city to put sporting icons on a pedestal. When four such icons - Sachin Tendulkar, Virendar Sehwag, Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan - paid a visit to the Adidas store located at phase III, Spencer Plaza, this past weekend, the crowds laid siege to the building. The four cricketers are brand ambassadors for Adidas.

The public had got wind of what (the players' visit) was supposed to have been kept under wraps. Just to catch a glimpse of their heroes, expectant fans clambered on to and stationed themselves at the unlikeliest of places. In short, all space, except for the store and the approach to it, which were cordoned off by policemen, was taken.

Bowling them over

When the players arrived, there was a roar of cheer. But soon hearts sank, as they could see only three cricketers. That the missing one was Sachin Tendulkar made a big difference to them. Cries of "Where is Sachin?" rent the air. The good news that Sachin "would join his team mates in a short while", took the edge off the disappointment.

Inside the showroom, Sehwag, Zaheer and Nehra were holding court, obliging autograph seekers, till Sachin came on the scene. All eyes were on Sachin, who sauntered in, dressed in a red T-shirt and blue denim trousers, and wearing his characteristic Boy Scout smile. No sooner did he step in than one and all thrust autographs and note-pads for the master willow-wielder's precious scribbles. Even scribes had no questions for the quartet, only requests for their autographs. Later, press photographers were huddled around the cricketers for an extended photo shoot.

The cricketers seemed overwhelmed by the response. Zaheer articulated the sentiment. "Chennai-ites are warm and friendly," he said. His only complaint is against the Chennai weather. "It is too hot for comfort." Those were words spoken from experience. For the record, Zaheer stayed in Anna Nagar for three years (1998-2001) when he was cutting his cricketing tooth at the MRF Pace Foundation.


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