LONDON, June 21 2005
Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was the cynosure
of all eyes as he opened a magnificent 'India room'
at the newly built 25-million pound stand at the Oval
cricket stadium here on Monday evening.
A visibly thrilled Tendulkar, who was here to support
the Twenty20 tsunami fund raiser between an Asia Xi
and an International XI, said: "It is a great
honour. Surrey is my favourite place where I played
my hundredth test. It was a special moment for me."
Present on the occasion were sir john major, former
British Prime Minister who played a key role in raising
funds for the new stand, Kamalesh Sharma, Indian High
Commissioner to the UK, and some of the leading NRI
industrialists including Sir Gulam Noon of Noon
Products, G P Hinduja and Ashok Hinduja of the Hinduja
Foundation, Kartar Lalvani, chief of Vitabiotics Ltd,
Lord Bagri, Nadeem Ahmed, chief of Global Tea and
Commodities and Sonjoy Chatterjee, Chief of ICICI,
UK, who among them raised 500,000 pounds (approx.
Rs four crore) for the India room.
Others present included former India wicket-keeper
batsman Farooq Engineer. Describing Tendulkar as "the
greatest batsman I have ever seen," Paul Sheldon,
chief executive, Surrey County Cricket Club, said
the Indian maestro had always extended his support
for raising funds for relief of the tsunami victims.
He said though Tendulkar underwent an operation for
tennis elbow, he still insisted on being present at
all the matches organised to raise funds for the tsunami
"We deeply appreciate what you have done,"
Tendulkar, who was to feature in both the lord's
match held on June 14 and Monday's match at the Oval,
had to pull out after undergoing the elbow surgery
Talking about the surgery, Tendulkar told PTI: "I'm
making steady progress. I am leaving for Mumbai tomorrow."
More than 1.1 million pounds was raised through the
match and it would be spent on building 100 new houses,
including a community centre and a sports/cricket
field in Sri Lanka.
Sir Gulam Noon thanked the Surrey County for giving
the NRIs an opportunity to raise funds and
naming one of the magnificent rooms in the newly built
stand as 'India room'. "It is a proud moment
for all of us."
Describing Tendulkar as "one of the world's
greatest cricketer of all time," Sir Major, a
former chief of the Surrey County Club and a keen
cricket enthusiast, recalled the "tremendous
contribution made by Indians" to cricket right
from Ranji (Indian prince Ranjitsinhji, one of the
finest batsmen of all times) and Poly Umrigar (former
India captain) who scored a century here in 1959.
"It is a tremendous feeling to have this room
named as India room because of the great contribution
to cricket by Indians - the very different style and
glamour and the tremendous entertainment they have
brought to the game," he said.
Dr Kartar Lalvani said, "naming one of the key
rooms as India room in Oval is a rare privilege for
NRIs" and said he was happy to be part
of those who contributed to the venture.