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Sachin is in for some surprises when he steps onto the field at the Eden Gardens for one last time

Sachin Tendulkar is likely to be greeted by thousands of spectators wearing his mask or the waving of placards with slogans eulogising the batting genius at the Eden Gardens gallery as he steps onto the iconic ground next month for one last time before hanging up his willow.

Going all out to give a warm farewell to the little master, who plays his 199th and penultimate Test match at the Eden Gardens against the West Indies from Nov 6, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) mandarins are burning the midnight oil to plan out novel ways to make the big occasion memorable to the cricketer as also the legions of his fans.

While plans are afoot to release thousands of balloons bearing his pictures at the start of play on the opening day or subsequent days at the Eden Gardens, the CAB is also toying with the idea of distributing vests bearing Tendulkar’s pictures among the spectators.

“This is no ordinary Test match. This is Sachin Test, Sachin fest. And we are leaving no stone unturned to celebrate it,” CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey said on October 18.

Since the time Tendulkar called up CAB chief Jagmohan Dalmiya and expressed his desire to play the match at Eden, the association officials have been holding daily discussions to implement a few of the large number of suggestions that have come up.

“We need some more time to finalise things. We hope to firm up plans by the end of next week,” said Dey.

One of the suggestions is to distribute Tendulkar masks among the likely full house of 70,000 on the ground.

“As he steps onto the ground, the spectators will don the masks and applaud Tendulkar. In whichever direction the little master looks, he will see only Sachin Tendulkars in the stands,” said a CAB official.

“We are also thinking of extending varied forms of welcome to Tendulkar on each of the match days. While one day he may be greeted by the placards, on another morning the balloons will be released to fete him. The vests can mark another day,” said the official.

To make the match ticket itself a collector’s item, the CAB has decided to print tickets with Tendulkar’s picture on them. “As per initial plans, different photos of Sachin will be printed on the tickets for each of the match days. We have also contacted artists Jogen Chowdhury and Sanatan Dinda. We will be seeking permission from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), as photos of cricketers are generally not printed on tickets,” said Dey.

A gala dinner to give Tendulkar a “magnificent felicitation” off the field is also in the scheme of things, but the CAB is trying to ascertain whether the Anti-Corruption Unit of the BCCI would approve of it.IANS

Glossary

Eulogise – to praise highly

Burning the midnight oil – to stay up working, especially late at night

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