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Call it the corporatization of Indian cricket or the change of guard in Team India, the MCA today was certainly left a trifle embarrassed as its plans to pay tribute to Sachin Tendulkar at his home ground went a little awry with Virat Kohli's advertisement billboards completely overshadowing the batting icon's action pictures.
Mumbai Cricket Association had planned to have 51 different pictures of Sachin Tendulkar with his Test centuries and names of oppositions inscribed on rectangular billboards, which were supposed to be put on the perimeter of the Wankhede Stadium roof.
While Sachin Tendulkar billboards have somehow been squeezed in that rooftop perimeter, it was rising star Virat Kohli's face that screamed for attention as it dominated the bulk of the space, which was bought by an FMCG company.
Tendulkar's photographs are certainly not visible to the naked eye as they have been enlarged from newspaper and magazine snaps. In contrast, the picture resolution of Virat Kohli's ad-pic specially designed for this purpose is far superior.
When asked, an MCA official said that the in-stadia rights were given to a company and the state association didn't have a clue as to what deal the company has struck with the FMCG company whose product is endorsed by Virat Kohli.
"Yes, the pictures of Sachin Tendulkar are small compared to the other billboard (Virat Kohli). But when we gave the contract, we didn't have an idea as to what photographs will be put up alongside Tendulkar's billboards," an MCA official said today.
During Sachin Tendulkar's 199th Test match at Kolkata, hosts Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) made a few goof ups that included spelling Sachin's name as 'Sachine' and referring to his wife Anjali as 'Mr' Anjali Tendulkar.
Call it irony but as, arguably, India's greatest cricketer Sachin Tendulkar gets ready to bid adieu to the game, the corporate world seems to be gearing up to embrace the country's next great batting hope.