Life comes full circle for Tendulkar
By Abhishek Roy
Mumbai – Exac! tly 24 years to date, Sachin Tendulkar made his Test debut against Pakistan, and perhaps he walked off with the bat in hand for one last time Friday in his farewell Test — but not before playing a scintillating knock that the packed Wankhede Stadium will always remember.
It was Nov 15, 1989 that Tendulkar played his first Test as a 16-year-old against Pakistan at Karachi’s National Stadium. The match is famously remembered for the teenager getting a bloodied nose, failing to negotiate a bouncer by another debutant Waqar Younis.
Thus began the legend’s journey and it did not take long for him to capture the imagination of cricket buffs around the world and in the process he inspired three generations of international players.
Not many were willing to wager on a Tendulkar century in his 200th Test, even against an innocuous West Indies attack. Bookies may have altered their odds after seeing the way he batted Thursday evening and the punters, too! , were willing to put their money on his getting one last hundred. But ! it was not to be.
Tendulkar, 40, was just 26 short of what would have been a perfect end to an illustrious chapter in world cricket when one Narsingh Deonarine, a part-time off-spinner, spoiled the party to shatter a billion hearts.
Tendulkar, on 74, was done-in by the extra bounce, but he was out to a splendid reflex-catch by first-slip Darren Sammy, who had a great day in the field snapping up five catches in the innings.
What an innings it was! Tendulkar kept the crowd on their toes with his delightful trademark driving on either side of the wicket. One could easily remember the 12 fours he hit in his 118-ball knock.
The lone West Indian who rejoiced Tendulkar’s dismissal could perhaps be Deonarine, who could tell his grandchildren that he dismissed the great man in what could be his last Test innings.
The West Indians, too, appeared resigned to Tendulkar getting a hundred after the way he started farming the bowling this morning, an! d when he fell unannounced they were as stunned as the full house.
Tendulkar trudged his way back to the dressing room without a trace of remorse as the crowd rose to give him another standing ovation all the way back from the middle. It was time for nostalgia and a flood of memories.