M Karunanidhi: A cricket lover who adored Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Kapil Dev
Chennai: Thousands mourned the death of five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's patriach Muthuvel Karunanidhi on Tuesday as he breathed his last after a prolonged battle with illness.
The scriptwriter-turned-politician was a voracious reader and a legendary writer, known for his love for theatre and drama that earned him the tag of 'Kalaignar' - the artist.
Karunanidhi achieved fame as a scriptwriter in the early 1950s before dominating the political scene in the state of Tamil Nadu for nearly five decades. But little is his love for the game of cricket known to many.
Karunanidhi was an ardent cricket enthusiast, who had a good understanding and regularly followed the sport. His daughter Kanimozhi once revealed how he would squeeze his time to watch cricket on television despite his busy schedule, according to The News Minute. At times, he would even call off meetings and appointments to watch a live cricket match along with his colleagues.
Stars like Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath, Sachin Tendulkar and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain MS Dhoni were among his favourites, who he admired a lot. During India’s 2011 World Cup triumph, he awarded the Men in Blue a staggering cash price of Rs 3 crore and Rs 1 crore separate for Ravichandran Ashwin, the only Tamil Nadu player in the squad.
When Tendulkar released his biography 'Playing It My Way' in 2014, Karunanidhi congratulated the Mumbai cricketer after being inspired on reading the book.
“Despite his many achievements in cricket, he is a picture of poise, unassuming and fields questions with humility. It would be no exaggeration to say that such qualities were among reasons that brought him huge fame. I am reading with interest his autobiography. I always hold him in esteem… my love for him,” he wrote on social media.
A year ago, he had also paid tribute to the God of Cricket who was bestowed with the Bharat Ratna.
Earlier in March this year, a video of the revered politician playing indoor cricket with his grandson went viral on the occasion of his son MK Stalin's birthday.