Fans of Sachin Tendulkar were left fuming Tuesday after Cricket Australia poked fun at the “little master” — revered as a quasi-god in India — on his 45th birthday.
The board posted a video of retired Australian paceman Damien Fleming — who shares a birthday with Tendulkar — bowling the Indian great with a quick delivery.
“Some @bowlologist gold from the man himself – happy birthday, Damien Fleming!” Cricket Australia quipped in its tongue-in-cheek message.
But the humour was lost on Tendulkar’s millions of fans on the subcontinent, who seemed to either miss the joke or baulk at the perceived slight on such a hallowed day.
“No matter how many bans, Australians will never change,” wrote Shashank, a Tendulkar fan, dredging up the recent bans handed to top Australian players over a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
“Hi, could you please check the full footage of that match to know that @bowlologist got swing because of any sandpaper or sugar ?????” wrote Arjun, another fan, also alluding to the affair that saw Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft suspended.
Tendulkar — who is followed by almost 26 million fans on Twitter and worshipped by many more in India — has not commented on the video.
His birthday was celebrated across the country, with many of his ardent followers cutting cakes in rituals given airtime on Indian television.
Tendulkar, the highest run-scorer of all time in both Test matches and one-day internationals, retired after playing in 200 Tests in which he scored 15,921 runs.