A walk to remember - The New Indian Express

A walk to remember

Published: 16th November 2013 01:18 AM

Last Updated: 17th November 2013 10:46 PM

November 15 might remain a landmark day in cricket history. On that day in 1989 Sachin Tendulkar made his Test debut and indications are, on that very day 24 years later he played his last innings. A second innings can’t be ruled out, but the way the West Indians are batting, India’s lead looks too big to guarantee another look at the master with a bat in his hand.

Tendulkar’s turn to bat in his first Test in Karachi came on November 16, when he made 15. Given the volume and quality of runs that followed, the streams of records those were broken and the manner he was batting on Thursday, the die-hards couldn’t be blamed for expecting a hundred. All eyes were on him.

There were a few close shaves including a dropped chance on 64 and Tendulkar didn’t connect a single time when he tried to glide the ball over slips, but he entertained. The 40-year-old enjoyed himself and so did those who saw the 118-ball 74 containing 12 fours. That many of them left after his dismissal underlined once again this Test is more about one man than between two teams.

View gallery: Tendulkar's Farewell Test - Day 2

“With expectations being enormous, Sachin was under tremendous pressure. Only he could still bat so well. The crowd made me nervous, but he stayed calm and even helped me settled down. It was a pleasure and privilege to watch him bat,” said Cheteshwar Pujara, probably Tendulkar’s last batting partner in Test cricket.

“Did I entertain?” was Brian Lara’s question after he called it a day in 2007. Tendulkar did not have to say that, as his bat provided the answer before anybody could ask the question. He looked like a man relieved in the knowledge that the pressure of performing which he had shouldered for 24 years was leaving him forever. He was happy living the moment and letting others enjoy it.

Sachin@200 - Special coverage

Tendulkar was quick to cut whenever Shane Shillingford erred in length, swift in spotting and driving the full one Tino Best bowled in between short ones, swept balls pitched dangerously in the line of the stumps and also let flow those eternally beautiful straight drives played with minimal force. The ball raced to the fence as Tendulkar raised hopes of a fairytale farewell.

A straight drive off Best for four that brought up his 68th half-century was followed by the sight of his wife Anjali on TV. She was apparently urging him to carry on. But by then, the adrenaline had taken over. Tendulkar tried to cut one that was too close and jumped a bit more than he expected. The edge was taken well by Darren Sammy at slip and he might have a fight with the bowler over who keeps the ball.

Tendulkar stood there for a second or two and one could almost hear the silence the stadium suddenly plunged into. He regrouped and walked back, raising his bat towards the place where his mother Rajani was seated. He turned around to acknowledge cheers from other parts of the stands before climbing the staircase back to the pavilion. All eyes were on him again, many with tears in them.

From Around the Web