The India-West Indies two Test match series will be the last two that Sachin Tendulkar will play for India. He will become the first and probably only player in the world to ever play 200 Test matches. This and several other records of his will stand the test of time and be enshrined in the books as long as the sport is played.
The atmosphere in Kolkata is festive, and not just for Diwali, but even more because it is their last chance to see Tendulkar play in a Test match.
The West Indies will try and spoil the party of course. While they have tremendous admiration for Tendulkar, there is no doubt that some of them feel that their man Brian Lara should not be forgotten and so will go all out to try and stop Tendulkar from having a fairy tale ending to his Test career.
Tendulkar has had a victorious end to his first class career with a winning hand for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy, and so he is well tuned and ready for all that the Windies will throw at him. As always, the Windies will rely on their pace attack to unsettle the Indians.
They will have seen how the short pitched delivery caused a problem or two to some of the Indian batsmen against Australia, and even though the Kolkata pitch won’t have the same bounce and carry as the pitches in Pune, Chandigarh and Bangalore had, the quickies will dig it in short to the Indians.
Shikhar Dhawan, Kohli and Dhoni handled the short ball with aplomb and were hardly ruffled by it, but still the Windies will surely have a go at them with it. That has been the traditional West Indian method for years, and it has been successful in the past.
If it has not worked in recent years, that has got to be due to the fact that with just two bouncers allowed in an over the Windies pacers are handicapped, and also because while they still have the pace, they do not have it consistently as in the past. With so much cricket in all formats being played, the bowlers tend to save something and don’t always go flat out.
India will go in with six batsmen as is their wont, especially now that Jadeja is not in the mix. That means that Rohit Sharma should get his Test cap. He is in the best form of his life and it is an ideal time to make his debut. Virat Kohli too has captured the imagination of the cricketing world with his stroke play and audacious batting.
That is all fine, but over the next five days at the Eden Gardens, all eyes will be on only one man, and all prayers will be for him to get a big one and then get the best ovation in the cricketing world; the kind that only Eden Gardens can give.
Professional Management Group