When Sachin Tendulkar arrived at the nets on Monday morning at the Eden Gardens, there was a surprise in store for him.
He was the first to alight from the bus, and as he walked into the Dr. B.C. Roy Club House a number of young players wearing T-shirts with ‘Welcome’ printed on the front and ‘Little Master’s 199th Test’ on the back, greeted the maestro.
To celebrate Tendulkar’s 24 years in international cricket, 24 confetti cannons were set off, bathing the entire area in red.
Tendulkar stepped into the club house and found a five-foot four-inch wax replica of his — depicting him with the bat and helmet raised — greeting him, but he preferred to walk past all that into the dressing room.
These were all part of the Cricket Association of Bengal’s celebration of Tendulkar’s 199th Test beginning at the Eden Gardens on November 6. Tendulkar was all seriousness as the team went through the grind of the nets session. He played his trademark drives and flicks, and the occasional punch off the backfoot was full of confidence.
Later, Tendulkar came out of the dressing room to pose next to the wax figure. He had some good words for the creator of the wax replica, Susanta Roy.
Meanwhile, West Indies manager Richie Richardson said his team was here to “play hard cricket.” He said his team would be “very, very competitive.”
Richardson said he knew that the Indian players were in fine form, but Test cricket was a different ball game. He termed the pitch a typical Indian wicket which would assist spinners on the last two days.
Richardson, himself one of the leading lights of West Indies cricket, heaped praise on Tendulkar.
“He has remained humble throughout his career, despite all the fame. This is his greatest quality,” he said.