When Omar Abdullah was an unknown face and had not even joined the world of politics he found himself in the close company of Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar in a Mumbai hospital. Several years later now when Omar too is a famous politician and occupying the hot seat of Chief Minister he continues to cherish those precious moments when he had congratulated Sachin after he became the proud father the same day Omar was blessed with son .
Paying tribute to the cricketing legend due to retire from the world of cricket later this month Omar on Tuesday said, Sachin’s daughter and my eldest son were born on the same day, in the same hospital in Mumbai.
“Our hospital rooms were next to each other. That time no one knew me; I had not entered politics. But everyone knew Sachin Tendulkar.”
Omar further said, “When we went for birth registration, he was standing in front of me. While leaving, I just congratulated him, and he thanked me and left. I am sure he might not remember this, but I remember it very well.”
Acknowledging the talent and his contribution to the world of cricket Omar said, “You can not replace Sachin Tendulkar — We will win matches — but Sachin Tendulkar like personality cannot be replaced in cricket.”
Recollecting the special association with the cricket legend, Omar said, “There are two moments that I will remember for life.
The chief minister said “I had met him once then I was MoS External Affairs — and he had come to South Africa to play a match — our High Commissioner had hosted a dinner for him.
“I was also invited — I got some time to spend with him — I will not forget that day because one hardly gets a chance to sit near him and talk to him like this.”
On Sachin’s last test match and his retirement on November 18, Omar said “It is impossible to imagine that such an important factor, who has made cricket popular as it is on the world map, will be playing his last test match in few days from now.
“I doubt whether India or the world will ever produce another Sachin Tendulkar — but I do hope that Sachin will use his immense talent to try and develop more cricketing talents in India.”
Omar said “He has an important role in the Rajya Sabha as MP. I hope he will use his wealth of cricketing experience to benefit the game of cricket and I wish him all the very best for future.”
On questions about felicitating Tendulkar in Jammu and Kashmir, the chief minister said, “We have not thought over the issue — We will send him invite through you — he shall visit J&K — we would like to felicitate him — if he wishes we will make him perform darshan at cave shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi.”