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Protests greet Tendulkar, Zaheer
Haresh Pandya in Ahmedabad | April 15, 2007 19:23 IST
Sachin Tendulkar, Ajit Agarkar and Zaheer Khan, who arrived on Sunday afternoon to play for Mumbai in the ongoing Twenty/20 inter-state tournament at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium in Motera, were greeted with shouts and slogans of protests by a group of "cricket lovers".
The fans, obviously disappointed with the Indian team's for their shocking performance in the ongoing World Cup in the Caribbean, took the opportunity to vent their anger and frustration and rushed to Hotel Taj to demonstrate minutes after the trio landed in the city.
In all, there were about 50 youngsters or so, carrying vitriolic placards, shouting anti-Team India slogans and braving the scorching heat outside Hotel Taj.
Sample the following placards:
* "Sachin, Ajit, Zaheer... go back and come to Ahmedabad only after you win the 2011 World Cup"
* "The so-called greats, have some shame. Retire from the game and make room for youngsters"
* "Ahmedabad is still mourning India's loss in the World Cup. How can we welcome the men responsible for bringing humiliation and shame to the nation?"
* "You cricketers have no shame despite the humiliation. You are all back to square one. You have nothing to do with patriotism"
And then there were typical messages and slogans like "Sachin Hai Hai", "Agarkar Hai Hai," "Zaheer Hai Hai", "Sourav Hai Hai", and so on.
It is learnt from the highly reliable sources that the entire group of protesters hailed from the Amraiwadi area of Ahmedabad. They had earlier done several other gimmicks in their area after India was blown out of the showpiece event from the preliminary round itself.
Surprisingly, the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) simply played down the incident and said nothing of the sort as mentioned above happened even when hundreds of people witnessed the demonstrators outside the hotel.
"No incident like a group of people demonstrating and shouting slogans outside Hotel Taj has been reported. And even if some handful of people had indulged in such an act, it must have been the handiwork of certain forces out to tarnish the image of Indian cricket and cricketers," GCA joint secretary Hitesh Patel told rediff.com.
The security personnel at hotel along with the local police managed to disperse the crowd soon and following the incident, security has been tightened around the hotel.
Interestingly, only Tendulkar, Agarkar and Zaheer are staying in the posh five-star hotel. The rest of the Mumbai players are staying at Gujarat Sports Club.
Why, even Sourav Ganguly, who is expected to arrive in Ahmedabad on Sunday night to play in the rest of matches (he did not figure in the Bengal-Tamil Nadu tie in the morning) for Bengal, is also going to stay with his team mates at Hotel President, it is learnt.
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