Sachin Tendulkar Final Test Match in Wanhkede Against West Indies
Sachin Tendulkar’s glittering international career comes to an end where it all began for this batting genius, in his home city of Mumbai, as India face the West Indies in the second and final Test of their series at Wankhede. How do you come to terms with what is upon us starting this Thursday, when Sachin Tendulkar plays his record 200th and final Test match for India? Five days later, when the second Test match against the West Indies comes to an end this nightmare for Indian fans will turn into a reality. Once the greatest Indian batsman of all-time walks out of the Wankhede he will never return in the whites for India. A crazy, emotion-filled hoopla has griped Mumbai for last couple of days and will continue over the next few days, and the India XI will do well to just concentrate on the job at hand. When he failed in Kolkata fans consoled themselves saying there is one more match to go. Now, there is no room for that. As Ravi Shastri would say: This is it, folks. The time is upon us when Sachin Tendulkar plays his final international match. For majority of the fans aged 16-25, they have only known an Indian side with Sachin Tendulkar in the team, hence it will be a bit like crusade – a holy war. For them it will hard to believe that the great man will never take the crease again in a Test match. All fans will be hoping to see that straight drive a few more times. Hopefully a few more back-foot punches, and a few more paddle-sweeps. For the last time we will see God in action – yes, we know Tendulkar of 2013 is not the same version of old, but who cares anyways. May all that and more come true, one last time. Before Tendulkar fan’s crusade, though, there is that one Test match at hand. So let’s see where teams stand on the eve of Test match. The onus will be on Darren Sammy and co. to improve their on-field display worthy of Sachin’s 200th Test. Having said that, it will be difficult for the players not to feel overwhelmed by the occasion and emotions associated with the great man’s farewell. The first game between these sides saw the West Indies collapse to defeat by an innings and 51 runs inside three days. India owed their victory to two debutants – Rohit Sharma who scored 177 and seam bowler Mohammed Shami took nine wickets, the most by an Indian fast bowler on debut. Ravichandran Ashwin also impressed with bat and ball, scoring 124 from No. 8 and taking five wickets in the match. Dhoni will be hoping for the contribution from elsewhere as well. Probable Starting XI India: Shikhar Dhawan, M. Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni (capt. and wk), R. Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pragyan Ojha, Mohammed Shami. West Indies: Kieran Powell, Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Darren Sammy (capt.), Shane Shillingford, Tino Best, Sheldon Cotterell. Key Players Sachin Tendulkar This is it for Indian maestro, as Sachin Tendulkar bids international cricket a final farewell on his home turf. He will want to go out with a bang, and given his history of rising to the occasion, expect him to do it for one final time and give cricket fans everywhere a reason to remember his final innings. Shivnarine Chanderpaul Amid all Sachin Tendulkar hoopla there is Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the Third rank Test batsman in the world, who will play his 150th Test match. He will be a first West Indian to achieve this feat. The 39-year-old is also in the twilight of his career, but seemed in a decent touch with two scores of over 30 in the previous game and should present the Indian bowlers with a significant challenge.
Prediction Tendulkar’s retirement is set to overshadow what otherwise could be an interesting game. The West Indies are keen to spoil his party, and if their batsmen can find form and cope with Indian spinners on a tWankhede track which is expected to help spinners, they may be in a good position to cause some problems. However, it is difficult to bet against India on current form and especially when they are playing in their backyard. Pitch has been made batsman friendly so expect Test match to last full five days. Umpires: Nigel Long (England) and Richard Kettleborough (England) Match Referee: Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe) Match start: 9.30 AM IST