The controversy was over whether a foreign player should be given prominence in a stadium in the twin-island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, with those opposing the move conveniently forgetting that a West Indies great, Sir Frank Worrell, has a similar suite named after him at Mumbai's Brabourne Stadium.
Things came to such a pass that Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Darryl Smith announced that the cricketing icon wouldn't be coming due to "scheduling conflicts", leading to much disappointment and dismay.
"There were few windows, very, very small windows that we were talking about to get him here but that window was closed because of scheduling conflicts and the show must go on. He may come at some other time, as I said, later on in the year, but at this particular point we don't want to push back or change the opening date to suit that, so we have to move forward," Smith had said.
Even so, Smith had struck a conciliatory note.
"Of course, Sachin, as he would tell you any day, has been a person who has pulled Lara, throughout his career. In fact, he has mentioned to me several times, Sachin is the reason why there is Brian Lara because they were head-to-head to be the best player in the world. He was pulling Brian, Brain pulling him, for many, many years," he had said.
Thankfully, better sense prevailed and Tendulkar's visit is on, with he and Lara leading their respective XIs in a match to mark the opening of the stadium that has seen several cost over-runs.
Clifford Narinesingh, a biographer of Lara, Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar, has said in an interview that it is an insular view that a foreign player should be denied prominence in a large public park or stadium.
"A more global view which transcends the parochial will warmly entertain such a gesture as this can be positive. It can open vistas and make sport more embracing, beyond the limited vision revealed by so many," he had said.
Narinesingh continued that he was not aware of how relevant this fact is in the context of the present controversy, but it is significant to note that the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai, apart from honouring the late Sir Frank Worell, had gloriously bestowed its honorary membership on Vivian Richards and Michael Holding.
"All I can say at this moment is that an innocent hero has been drawn into a debate, a man whose heart is in West Indian cricket, apart from his home country," Narinesingh said.
Thankfully, the controversy is now at rest and all eyes will be on the opening of the Brian Lara Stadium on Saturday.
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