With a heavy heart, India prepares for Tendulkar farewell

Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:05am EST
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By Sudipto Ganguly

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Cricket-crazy India will have a lump in the throat as its favorite son, Sachin Tendulkar, walks out for one last time this week to play the game he has dominated for nearly a quarter of a century.

The 'Little Master' will bring the curtain down on a glittering 24-year career at the age of 40 when he plays his 200th test match, against West Indies, at his home ground starting on Thursday.

Among the 32,000 present will be his wheelchair-bound mother Rajni, for whom Tendulkar has managed to get a ramp at Wankhede Stadium so she can watch her idolized son bat for the first time.

"Mother has never seen him play. This will be the first time. Also it will be a very emotional moment," his elder brother, Ajit, told an Indian Today group television program.

For the last time, the superstitious Tendulkar will put on his left pad first, and walk out to bat in India's colors, having long secured his place among the game's greats.

"In terms of stats, you're going to have players with better stats (in the future), you never know," West Indies batting great Brian Lara said of the Indian.

"There are boxers who have a better record than Mohammad Ali but if you talk about boxing you've to mention Muhammad Ali, basketball you have to mention Michael Jordan. When you speak about cricket, you'll speak about Tendulkar."

Statistically the greatest batsman of all time, Tendulkar's greatness goes far beyond those numbers.   Continued...

India's Sachin Tendulkar bounces a ball on his bat during a practice session ahead of their second test cricket match against New Zealand in Bangalore, August 30, 2012. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash