Sachin Tendulkar’s legacy in the world of cricket received an enduring tribute at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The stadium, steeped in cricketing history, took a moment to celebrate its favorite son, immortalizing the Little Master in bronze.
A decade after Tendulkar bid adieu to the sport, his stature in the cricketing pantheon has only grown. Now, as he turned 50, he stands tall in the form of a majestic sculpture between the Sachin Tendulkar Stand and the Vijay Merchant Pavilion. Designed by Pramod Kamble, the statue captures Tendulkar in action, executing a sublime lofted drive down the ground, evoking memories of the magic he created on the field, much like those iconic moments in Sharjah two and a half decades ago.
While cricket stadiums worldwide have their share of statues commemorating legends like Don Bradman, WG Grace, Garfield Sobers, Viv Richards, and Shane Warne, India’s reverence for its cricketers was seldom displayed in such monumental form within the venues. CK Nayudu, India’s first Test captain, has a few statues scattered across different stadiums, but Tendulkar’s monumental presence is a unique addition to Wankhede’s cricketing heritage.
This year, Wankhede witnessed the inauguration of a ‘victory memorial’ during the IPL 2023, commemorating India’s triumph in the 2011 World Cup. Positioned at the very spot where MS Dhoni’s winning shot had landed, it symbolizes the culmination of a glorious cricketing journey. As fate would have it, Thursday’s match marked a rematch of those historic final, drawing fans to the two iconic installations, capturing the essence of cricket’s grandeur.
While Tendulkar’s statue featuring the lofted drive was chosen by the man himself, some may wonder whether a classic straight drive or the iconic sight of him celebrating a century would have been more fitting. However, as in cricket, choices often come down to individual preferences, and Tendulkar’s lofted drive remains a testament to his mastery of the game, eternally celebrated at the very heart of Indian cricket. As they say, “Cricket is a game of choices, and this is one choice that’s left an indelible mark in the cricketing annals.”