Spotlight on retiring Tendulkar as India-West Indies clash
Kolkata: Cricket has been left overshadowed by the farewell carnival surrounding the iconic Sachin Tendulkar and India will have to keep emotions in check to ensure that they are not distracted from the task at hand against the West Indies in his swansong two-Test series starting here tomorrow.
The centre stage will belong to Tendulkar, who will begin pulling the curtains down on his glittering career here. The 40-year-old veteran will call it quits after his 200th Test with the one starting tomorrow being his 199th.
Amid an upsurge of emotions among fans and administrators of the game alike, Tendulkar would look to make it memorable through his bat against a team, which has promised to steal the limelight by thwarting him.
Given the hype and hoopla surrounding the series, it would take a herculean effort from the West Indies to avoid being just bridesmaids.
Tendulkar's imposing presence will dominate the series and why not? In a controversy-free career spanning 24 years, Tendulkar has been the most worshipped and followed cricketer who has against his name, almost all the batting records including most runs and hundreds in international cricket.
Treated like 'God' by his fans, it will be one nostalgic moment for sports-mad Kolkata when Tendulkar comes on to bat in his penultimate Test on the hallowed Eden Gardens.
The majestic ground has been witness to many of Tendulkar's ups and downs since his Eden odyssey began in an ODI against Sri Lanka on January 4, 1991.
His miserly three-run last over that had denied South Africa the winning six runs in the Hero Cup semifinal on November 24, 1993 is part of cricketing folklore here.
At the same time, the 1996 World Cup semifinal against Sri Lanka when fans hurled bottles and set the stands on fire after an Indian collapse began with Tendulkar's dismissal would also remain etched in the memory.