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Fans leave no stone unturned to pray for Sachin Tendulkar’s success © AFP

Sachin Tendulkar is a national treasure, so close to the hearts of the Indians that they pray for his success as they would for a family member. They even became superstitious along the way. Nishad Pai Vaidya writes about how Tendulkar made large number of the Indian population into a superstitious lot.
“The nation became emotionally attached to this young boy. All of us, whether you are a cricketer, or a fan, you wanted him to do well and prove that he is the best in the world. And, he did go on to do that. So, he touched a nerve and you became protective — you prayed for his success,” said Yajurvindra Singh, the former Test cricketer, about Sachin Tendulkar.

Yajurvindra Singh made a telling comment when he said that Indians became emotionally attached to Tendulkar and prayed for his success. And many a superstition crept along the way into the minds of his Indian cricket fans when Tendulkar batted.

Tendulkar himself is a bit superstitious; he always wears his left pad first. It is said that he keeps his teammates rooted to their spots if a colleague is doing well out in the middle.

Tendulkar’s wife Anjali is also superstitious. She has confessed that she feels so nervous when her husband bats that she doesn’t move. Times of India quoted her, “Actually, I have one particular spot in the house from where I can watch TV and also keep an eye on my Ganpati . I don’t eat. I don’t answer phones. I don’t drink. I don’t even move. I don’t reply to any sms until he’s out.”

Tendulkar’s team-mates are not far behind either. One may expect a guy like Virender Sehwag to brush aside superstitions and enjoy life as it comes. After all, that has been his approach to batting. However, when Tendulkar scripted that epic 200 not out against South Africa at Gwalior, he sat at one spot for the first 190 runs. He told ESPNcricinfo, “I am the superstitious kind; I never praise a shot because I fear the moment I do so, the batsman gets out. Till Sachin was on 190 in Gwalior, I was rooted in my seat in the dressing room. But when he got to 190, I couldn’t contain myself. I came out and started cheering every stroke till he got to 200.”

Sehwag’s traits shows that even the most uncluttered of minds can become superstitious when it comes to Tendulkar’s success.

K Bhaskar Pillai, a former Delhi batsman played with Tendulkar during his young days. Despite being an admirer, he claims that he has missed most of his innings and that is because whenever he has tried to, Tendulkar has been dismissed early. “So, a time came when I would go to another room and not watch the games. I would momentarily enquire about his scores and missed most of the action — apart from the ones I played against him of course. Whenever he would get close to his century, I would ask my family not to tell me the scores and only sound me when he gets there,” he told CricketCountry.

These examples exemplify the Tendulkar effect on different people. You have his wife, an opening partner and a former competitor — yet they share similar superstitions with him in the middle. The joy of watching him raise his bat after scoring a hundred is surreal. Those were the people who know him well or have been associated with him in some way, but what about the fan who only watches his idol on television or in the stadium?

The normal fan too has his own superstitions whenever Tendulkar bats, particularly when he gets into the 90s. There is one picture that aptly describes the mania. When Tendulkar got to 99 against Pakistan at Mohali in 2007, the cameras focused on one man in the stands, who had his hands folded in prayer and he chanted his verses to God. The almighty would be flooded with similar pleas demanding a three-figure mark for the maestro.

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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)