On his 40th birthday, Sachin Tendulkar thanked his well-wishers in a simple cake-cutting ceremony in Kolkata on Wednesday morning. Tendulkar cut a five-kg cake with his wife Anjali feeding him the first piece. Soon after, both happily posed for photographers.
Kolkata is one of Tendulkar's most liked cities. Whenever in the City of Joy, he makes it a must to visit the famous Kali Mandir in Kalighat, South Kolkata.
"I am touched by the gesture shown by the fans. As I was walking in my hotel today, I met Anil Kumble, who wished me and said 40 was just a number. I am inspired by his words," Tendulkar said.
An emotional Tendulkar said: "Am thankful for unconditional love shown by my fans. So many people have made sacrifices like fasting for me when I was not well. I would have liked to meet them all personally and thank them."
Tonight, Tendulkar will be batting for Mumbai Indians in an IPL match against Kolkata Knight Riders. It will be crucial game for both teams to remain in touch with the tournament's leading teams, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
There will be another round of celebrations at the Eden Gardens this evening. The Cricket Association of Bengal has always been lavish in its parties for celebrities.
"It's a privilege that Tendulkar will be playing at Eden on his 40th birthday. It merits a special celebration but we are keeping it a bit low profile in accordance with the tournament rules. A special Hyderabadi chef has been put in charge to prepare the cake which we plan to present him in the Mumbai Indians dressing room," CAB joint-secretary Subir Ganguly said.
But Tendulkar, like the quintessential professional, remains focused. It was amply clear during the cake-cutting ceremony. Scoring runs remains in first priority.