Melbourne, March 29:
Two Indians – cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar and ICC chairman N. Srinivasan – on Sunday received contrasting reception from the record 93,013-strong crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after the World Cup final.
While every mention of Tendulkar led to roars of applause and cheers, Srinivasan was roundly booed when his name was announced during the presentation ceremony.
It was a new role for Tendulkar, accustomed to receiving prizes and trophies galore during his glittering 24-year cricketing career, as he handed over the Player of the Tournament and Player of the Final awards to Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner respectively.
Having turned out in Indian colours in half a dozen World Cup tourneys spread over 19 years since 1992, it was the first edition of the mega event at which the Mumbaikar made his appearance since hanging up his gloves.
But the tremendous respect and huge popularity that Tendulkar, the brand ambassador of the 2015 tournament, commands across the cricketing world was amply evident when his name was announced as a member of the presentation party by the host of the award ceremony, Mark Nicholas.
Only seconds earlier, as Nicholas pronounced Srinivasan’s name, the crowd booed. The former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president took it stoically even as he looked all around.
However, the boos gave way to deafening cheers all around as the presenter announced Tendulkar’s name immediately after.
The applause extended for several seconds, halting the announcements. Many people rose from their seats in the galleries to salute the cricketing genius, who stood smiling next to Srinivasan on the podium. Smartly turned out in a navy blue suit and printed blue tie, Tendulkar waved to the crowd acknowledging their adulation.
Sometime later, as he handed over the memento to Faulkner and congratulated him on his achievement, the Aussie forgot to take the “Player of the Match” trophy and went away to shake hands with the others present on the podium.
Tendulkar broke into smiles and called the allrounder loudly, to remind him of his mistake. As Faulkner came back, the cricketing great gave him the trophy, seemingly cracked a joke and patted him on the back.
Another bout of applause went up as Tendulkar was called upon to present the award to Starc, who finished the tournament with 22 wickets.
Tendulkar, who clearly was enjoying every moment of the ceremony, spoke for a short while with Starc, who listened with rapt attention.
In a sharp contrast, some of the Australian cricketers did not bother to shake hands with Srinivasan when they were called to the podium to receive their individual medallions.
Srinivasan, however, brought the ceremony to a close by handing over the glittering World Cup trophy to victorious Australian skipper Michael Clarke.