Sharjah: The West Stand at the iconic Sharjah Cricket Stadium has been renamed the Sachin Tendulkar stand in a special ceremony on Monday.
Not only does it coincide with the birthday of the Indian legend, but it also marks the 25th anniversary of the famous back to back centuries he scored against Australia in 1998 to a packed stadium. The 143 he scored on April 22 and 134 two days later in the final of the Coca-Cola Cup, a triangular series between India, Australia and New Zealand, has been recorded in the books as a veritable Desert Storm.
Tendulkar scored 49 hundreds in ODIs played across 34 stadiums, but his seven at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, including the twin hundreds in April 1998, stand out and are lauded by his fans around the world to this day.
A big thank you
Reacting to the news of naming the stand, Tendulkar, in a message, said: “I wish I was there but unfortunately I had prior commitments. Playing in Sharjah has always been a magnificent experience. From the electrifying atmosphere to the love, affection and support, Sharjah has been a special venue for Indian cricket fans and lovers of the game from around the globe. It’s given us so many special moments. A big thank you to Bukhatir and his team for this kind gesture on the 25th anniversary of the Desert Storm match and my 50th birthday. Feels like the greatest 6 of them all!”
Sharjah Cricket Stadium still holds the Guinness record for most One Day internationals played (244) and some of the most memorable moments in cricketing history has occurred in this hallowed ground.
Commenting on the decision to pay this tribute to Sachin on the anniversary of Desert Storm, the CEO of the Sharjah stadium, Khalaf Bukhatir said: “This is our small way of expressing our gratitude to Sachin for doing so much for the game of cricket. Indeed, that was an incredible innings and it was repeated in the final. Right through the years of the now legendary CBFS initiative, we have striven here at Sharjah to acknowledge the services of many great players even after their retirement. As administrators, we believe it is our duty to pay tribute to those who have raised the bar and dedicated their lives to the cause of cricket, and we will continue to do so.”