Tendulkar was roped in by the Kerala government as the goodwill ambassador for the Games and even while Malayalam superstar Mohanlal came under flak from certain quarters for allegedly collecting money to stage his nearly four-hour-long musical show, those who found fault with him looked at Tendulkar who has not charged anything.

Each time the speakers mentioned the name of Tendulkar, the more than 40,000-strong crowd roared and when chief minister Oommen Chandy welcomed him, the roar went on for a few minutes prompting Chandy to profusely thank the cricketing icon.

"I and my government on behalf of the people of Kerala extend our thanks to you for gracing this occasion and also by being the goodwill ambassador. Your gesture towards us will always be remembered," said Chandy.

Another round of cheers waited for him when various sporting legends from Kerala carrying the torch went up to the podium to hand it over to him. There was more clapping and shouting when he handed it to Anju Bobby George and P.T. Usha who lit the massive Kerala 'nilavilaku'(traditional lamp).

Latest News from Sports News Desk