Kolkata: He was a famous face in the galleries whenever the Indian cricket team played. Not only in India, but Sudhir Gautam was even present at all the venues abroad, the Indian cricket team played. Remember the man with the colours of the Indian flag painted all over his body and with a conch. Yes, Sudhir Gautam became synonymous with the Indian team. His actions in the galleries made him a very popular face with the other spectators as well as the TV viewers.
Well times have changed with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Times have become different also for Sudhir. The man who was and still is very popular with the cricketers is passing through tough times. Earlier, he even had sponsors who paid him for his mere presence in the gallery, not any more now.
Sachin Tendulkar fan Sudhir arrived here Wednesday and went straight to Sourav Ganguly’s residence in Behala locality here. He came to seek special permission so that he could be present in the gallery when India take on England. It was then only he came to know that the BCCI president has been hospitalized with heart ailments.
Ganguly personally knows Sudhir and it was this expectation that Sudhir arrived here. He went to the hospital where Ganguly is presently admitted and undergoing treatment. He pleaded with all to allow him to meet Ganguly, but nothing happened. A desperate Sudhir even called up Tendulkar requesting the latter to talk to Ganguly. However, Tendulkar told Sudihir that this is not the appropriate time to talk to Ganguly.
“There were times when the Indian cricketers would support me financially. After Tendulkar’s retirement, MS Dhoni used to help me with tickets at all venues. Others also chipped in whenever I required anything,” Sudhir has been quoted as saying by a vernacular daily here.
“Now with COVID-19 setting in, I am not allowed in the galleries anymore. I have suffered financially a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even my sponsors have backed off. So that is the reason why I came here to meet ‘Dada’ (Ganguly). But now he is in hospital, so I don’t know what I will do,” lamented Sudhir.
He informed that to make ends meet he had done odd jobs since the pandemic broke out in India including driving app cabs. “But my heart lies with cricket… so that is the reason I wanted to be in the galleries when India take on England. The matches are being played in Chennai, my own city. It is unimaginable for me that matches are being played in Chennai and I won’t be in the gallery. I will wait for two more days in Kolkata to try my luck with Dada,” Sudhir signed off.