Not only is Sachin Tendulkar supposedly batting with more freedom after finally achieving the long-awaited milestone of a hundred hundreds, he appears to have taken his new-found lease on life off the pitch as well, in ways that some observers warn resembles a mid-life crisis.
Tendulkar was recently sighted at a tattoo parlour in one of Dhaka's largest malls. "I feel like a new man," he said, clapping his hands and addressing no one in particular. "It's like this huge weight has been lifted off my chest, and now I get to tattoo it."
Then, despite none in the assembled crowd of mostly horrified teenagers requesting him to do anything of the sort, Tendulkar removed his Metallica t-shirt to reveal the tattoo of what appeared to be a screaming eagle astride a flaming comet from hell on his freshly waxed chest. Tendulkar revealed the design had been suggested to him by new best friend Virat Kohli.
"Yeah it's true, we've become, like, BFFs [Best Friends Forever] ever since Sachin-sir got his hundredth hundred," said a slightly bemused Kohli, who was on an adjacent table getting a tattoo of Virat Kohli across his back ("Look, I just wanted to get something that inspired me").
"I told you not to call me Sachin-sir," said Tendulkar, playfully wagging a finger at Kohli. "I just want to be thought of as a regular guy, as the average multimillionaire boy next door. Obviously, 'sir' will not do. I'd rather be called… well, why don't you tell them, Virat."
"'Sach-Dawg'," muttered Kohli, looking away. "He wants me to call him 'Sach-Dawg'."
"Oh, are you looking at my hair?" Tendulkar squealed at a frightened girl. "Well, thank you for noticing, and, why, yes, I did get it permed yesterday, and today we're getting it highlighted, isn't that right, Virat?" There was no response from Kohli, who appeared to be wincing in pain.
Meanwhile back at the team hotel, Tendulkar's wife was seen enquiring after her husband's whereabouts.
"I just don't know what's come over him," she said. "He's been acting so strange of late. I hope he and Virat aren't getting into any more trouble. Just last night they were caught by stadium security spreading superglue on the toilet seats of the opposition dressing room. He's acting like a ten-year-old. It's like he's Virat's age all of a sudden."
The Indian team management is said to have made a request to the BCCI to rope in the services of renowned sports psychologist Rudi Webster, who, among other things, has in the recent past helped the Kolkata Knight Riders' players overcome the crushing reality of having to explain to people they respect that Shah Rukh Khan owns their team.
"It's quite possible that Sachin's in shock," said Webster. "The pressure of getting the hundred built up to such a degree that, when it finally came, its impact upon his psyche has made him act out in ways that are otherwise safely suppressed.
"The best way to deal with someone like this is to humour him until it subsides."
Tendulkar was last seen running up to the Pakistan players while they were at dinner and sledging them for hours on end, in an apparent attempt to purge his system of more than two decades worth of pent-up invective.