The West Stand at the iconic Sharjah cricket stadium has been renamed the Sachin Tendulkar Stand in a special ceremony to coincide with the Indian cricket legend's birthday, here on Monday.
Not only does it coincide with the birthday of the Indian legend, but it also marks the 25th anniversary of the famous back-to-back centuries he scored against Australia in 1998 in a packed stadium.
The 143 Tendulkar had scored here on April 22 and 134 two days later in the final of the Coca-Cola Cup, a triangular series between India, Australia, and New Zealand has been recorded in the books as a veritable desert storm.
Tendulkar scored 49 hundreds in ODIs and played across 34 stadiums but his 7 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium including the twin hundreds in April 1998 stand out and are lauded and celebrated by his fans around the world to this day.
The Sharjah Cricket Stadium joins the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in honouring the Indian Maestro in this manner on the occasion of his 50th birthday.
Reacting to the news of naming the stand, Sachin said in a message, "I wish I was there but unfortunately I had prior commitments. Playing in Sharjah has always been a magnificent experience.
"From the electrifying atmosphere to the love, affection and support, Sharjah has been a special venue for Indian cricket fans and lovers of the game from around the globe. It's given us so many special moments. A big thank you to Mr Bukhatir and his team for this kind gesture on the 25th anniversary of the Desert Storm match and my 50th birthday. Feels like the greatest 6 of them all!"
Sharjah Cricket Stadium still holds the Guinness record for most One-Day internationals played (244) and have seen some of the most memorable moments in cricketing history occur on this hallowed ground.
Commenting on the decision to pay this tribute to Sachin on the anniversary of Desert Storm the CEO of the Sharjah stadium, Khalaf Bukhatir said, "This is our small way of expressing our gratitude to Sachin for doing so much for the game of cricket. Indeed, that was an incredible innings, and it was repeated in the finals.
"Right through the years of the now legendary CBFS initiative we have striven here at Sharjah to acknowledge the services of many great players even after their retirement. We believe that as administrators it is our duty to pay tribute to those who have raised the bar and dedicated their lives to the cause of cricket, and we will continue to do so," he said.