Photographs: Rediff Archives
Continuing its attack on Sachin Tendulkar, the Shiv Sena on Sunday said there was no instance of him helping any Marathi cricketer while Sunil Gavaskar was a "genuine Maharashtrian" and had given Test caps to many players from the state during his tenure as India captain.
In an article in party mouthpiece Saamna, Sena MP Sanjay Raut while comparing Tendulkar to Gavaskar, alleged, "There has been no instance of Sachin extending a helping hand to other Marathi cricketers. Forget others, he did not even support Vinod Kambli."
Text: Press Trust of India
Those were Sunny Days, says Sena
"In contrast, Gavaskar when he captained India, had half the team drawn from Mumbai and Maharashtra. He gave Test caps to many Marathi players including Suru Naik and Zulphikar Parkar at least for one match," he said, while also acknowledging Tendulkar's greatness as a cricketer.
"In this context, Gavaskar is a genuine Maharashtrian and the whole country loves him even now in the same way," the article claimed.
Learn from the Bengal Tiger: Sena
"Players like Sachin have become rich because of game of cricket. Sachin's wealth has crossed Rs 200-crore mark. We expect Sachin to be as 'proud' of Maharashtra as Saurav Ganguly is of Bengal," it said.
Rahul Dravid loyal to Karnataka: Sena
"Rahul Dravid, too, is a Marathi player, but he is loyal to Karnataka," Raut said.
The latest salvo came after Sena supremo Bal Thackeray on November 16 accused the cricket icon of hurting Marathi sentiments with his "Mumbai for all" remark.
It is no more cricket.
Thackeray's remarks had evoked angry reactions from a host of political leaders as also the BCCI, who came down heavily on the Shiv Sena chief for criticising Tendulkar, saying his statement was just right and nobody could take objection to it.
Thackeray said that Tendulkar had, through his remark, "left the crease and moved to the pitch of politics" and this had hurt the Marathi psyche.
Earlier, 36-year-old Tendulkar had said, "I am a Maharashtrian and I am extremely proud of that. But I am an Indian first. And Mumbai belongs to all Indians."