Tendulkar unveils new Dhaka club
Sachin Tendulkar's presence at the logo unveiling ceremony of Legends of Rupganj, a newly-named Dhaka Premier League club, gave a much-needed image boost to the domestic one-day competition. He praised club owner Lutfar Rahman Badal for his efforts to form championship-winning clubs and said role models are necessary to produce new stars in Bangladesh.
Legends of Rupganj was previously known as Gazi Tank Cricketers, who are the defending champions of the Dhaka Premier League. BCB's requirements say that a renamed club has to play one season with the former name after which it can apply for a change. Rupganj is the hometown of Badal, a businessman and a cricket official. He has been in charge of Dhaka Premier League winning campaigns of Mohammedan and Victoria Sporting Clubs.
The Dhaka Premier League is the country's oldest and most prestigious professional cricket competition. Wasim Akram, Arjuna Ranatunga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Ajay Jadeja, Neil Fairbrother and recently Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan and Ryan ten Doeschaete have featured in the competition, held among 12 Dhaka-based cricket clubs.
Badal's Gazi Tank had two county stars - Morgan and ten Doeschate - as well as Jacob Oram as they won the title last season. This year he has already roped in Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, and a strong on paper Bangladeshi contingent to boot. Tendulkar said that the image of Shakib and Tamim will help find newer talents.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate my friend Badal for starting Legends of Rupganj," Tendulkar said. "We have shared several ideas. All three clubs that he has run have won, which shows his commitment. Also Tamim and Shakib playing for his club is a boost for the club and youngsters. You need role models to produce more Shakibs and Tamims."
Upon arriving in Dhaka in the morning, he was taken by a helicopter to Rupganj, a sub-district of Narayanganj. There Tendulkar attended a health awareness programme organised by Unicef at a local high school.
Tendulkar also reminisced some of his achievements in Bangladesh. He played 23 international matches in the country, averaging 74.86 with seven centuries across formats. His highest Test score of 248 not out was against Bangladesh in 2004. It was his 34th century, and Sunil Gavaskar, whose record he equalled, greeted him at the boundary. Tendulkar remembers the innings fondly, as well as the 100th century in international cricket, made in the 2012 Asia Cup.
"Visiting Bangladesh has always been special for me," Tendulkar said. "I have had many great memories here since 1998. The crowds have always been wonderful, I especially remember scoring my 34th hundred here (in 2004) when I equalled Mr Gavaskar's record. They gave me a great reception. I also made my 100th hundred here, and to be acknowledged by the Prime Minister was a huge honour. All these memories are everlasting."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84