Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 15th 2013 Contents A45
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Ross Taylor, the New Zealand batsman, will
undergo treatment for a niggle in his knee over the
following week. Taylor had aggravated an injury to
his patella tendon after returning from the tour of
Bangladesh, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said in a
release, but it is not serious and he could be fit in
time for the Plunket Shield game that begins on
November 26 following rehabilitation.
Taylor and captain Brendon McCullum had been
rested for the tour to Sri Lanka to allow them to
prepare for the home Test series against West
Indies. McCullum also had to address a back issue,
which kept him out of the final two games against
Bangladesh. He has begun "light training" this
week, the NZC release said, and is likely to be
ready to play the tour game against West Indies
that starts on November 27.
In McCullum's absence, batsman Kane
Williamson was supposed to lead the side in Sri
Lanka, but suffered a fractured thumb himself. He
now has "movement in his left thumb", NZC said,
and "will have an update on when he can return to
cricket when he sees his specialist again next
Ross Taylor to undergo rehab for knee niggle
After the fall of the second wicket, time
stood still. The state of the match, or the
performance of the other batsman got little
attention. The crowd of 25,000 came to see
just one man.
At 3.31 pm, M Vijay gets out to a bat-pad
catch off Shane Shillingford. There are about
20 overs to go to stumps. Two wickets are
down. You don t expect a nightwatchman,
with so much time to go, but sometimes peo-
ple expect the worst. They all look towards
the Indian dressing room. A support staff
person moves about. There is no sight of
either the regular No.4 or a nightwatchman.
People keep looking. No signs. Anticipation
builds. Tension builds. Suddenly someone
realises the umpires have asked Vijay to wait
because they are checking the legitimacy of
the delivery. A minute has passed, and now
someone has realised that. Time has stopped
in India once again. Perhaps one last time,
There are old folk in the crowd, old enough
to be his father, who might have seen him as
the curly-haired kid in the maidans. Middle-
aged people who have given up work today,
who have grown with him, who have lived
their lives with him as a part of them. Eighteen
to 20-year olds who weren t even born when
he debuted. Not a single person is sitting.
Then they see Vijay has been given the march-
ing orders, 25,000 heads---the loudest 25,000
you can ever imagine---turn to the dressing
room. Two wickets have fallen in this over,
but nobody is bothered.
Vijay has become Shillingford s victim twice,
twice he has come back flexing his elbow, but
nobody has read into the reaction because
they are too busy waiting to give the next
man in the best possible welcome. So Sachin
Ramesh Tendulkar puts on his arm guard,
helmet, then gloves, and gets up. Now he
comes into public view, and people lose con-
trol. They are so busy counting his steps down
the pavilion stairs they haven t even noticed
the West Indies team have already formed a
guard of honour for him. Cheteshwar Pujara,
the unbeaten batsman, has joined in. The
umpires join in too.
There walks Tendulkar. Possibly for the last
time, because the West Indies batsmen haven t
turned up in this series. He looks up to adjust
to the outside light. Shakes the hand of the
West Indies captain, Darren Sammy. Raises
his bat to the opposition who earlier in the
day gifted him a jersey signed by all of them.
Nods once again in acknowledgement.
Tendulkar now bends, picks a piece of the
soil, touches it on the peak of his forehead,
and sort of crosses his heart. One of the
umpires now gives Tendulkar the proper guard.
By the time everything has settled down and
Tendulkar faces his first ball, it s 3.35pm. Slow
over-rate? Nobody cares.
Shillingford bowls, Tendulkar defends with
the turn, it reaches on the bounce to short
leg. People worry, people go quiet. "A mini
heart-attack," one man shouts. Tendulkar
defends the next ball, and the over is done.
It s 3.37pm when the next over starts. Six
minutes, two balls, countless emotions. Now
Pujara takes strike. Now Pujara cuts. Half-
cut, half-punch. Past point for four. The crowd
goes "Sachiiiiiin, Sachin". Now Pujara drives
exquisitely through cover for four. The crowd
goes "Sachiiiiin, Sachin". Pujara plays the
whole over, but a man invokes the underworld
classic, Satya, and shouts "Mumbai ka king
kaun? (Who is the king of Mumbai)?" The
whole stand replies, "Sachiiiiin, Sachin".
"Cricket ka king kaun?" "Sachiiiiin, Sachin."
It s been 10 minutes since they stood up
in the stands. Not one person has sat down.
Shillingford starts a fresh over. Long-on back,
a slip and two short legs in. Tendulkar stands
tall, bat in air, squats, then the bat touches
down once before the ball is delivered. He
sweeps, and a cheer as loud as when India
won the World Cup here more than two years
ago goes up. We won t have another Bradman.
Or maybe we will in the next innings.
You have got to keep in mind that this is
a batsman who last scored a Test century in
the first week of 2011. Averages 32 since then.
Many Indians have argued over the last year
that he has overstayed his welcome. The
farewell series has been made garish by taste-
less administrators trying to milk it. Then you
watch this, and wonder what a loss it would
have been had he gone without giving people
Forget the garishness. Forget that the oppo-
sition has left its Test-match temperament
at the customs. Let s escape ephemerally once
again. Let s lose ourselves again. Let s forget
the last local train before peak-hour traffic.
Let s applaud a forward-defensive like a goal.
So Tendulkar defends and we applaud. Then
next over, Shillingford provides a short ball,
which he cuts away for four. About the 100-
odd people who had sat down are back up
again. They are watching from the terrace
of the nearby Income Tax building. The big
screen now shows Ramakant Achrekar, Ten-
dulkar s coach, and Rajni Tendulkar, his
mother, who are also here. They are both
in wheelchairs now. How proud they must
be.The farewell series has been made garish
by tasteless administrators trying to milk it.
Then you watch this, and wonder what a
loss it would have been had he gone without
giving people this opportunity
Slowly, Tendulkar finds the rhythm. He
is looking as assured as he has done in this
year. He is also getting into the last-dance
spirit. The 14th ball he faces, he reaches its
pitch and drives it against the turn, because
the gaps are on the off side. Past mid-off
it goes. Tendulkar 12 off 14. India? It doesn t
By now, every possible rhythmical chant
"Sachin" can be made into has been chanted.
"Sachiiiiin, Sachin." "Saaaaaachin." "Sachin,
Sachin-Sachin-Sachin, Saaaachin." How
come no one is out of tune when they chant
This is the same ground where Tendulkar
made his first-class debut. Lalchand Rajput,
who was run out for 99 batting with Ten-
dulkar, is here. Shishir Hattangadi, the opener
in that match, is here. Many players who
made their first-class debuts after that are
Ashok Patel, the bowler who got him out
for the first time in first-class cricket, and
now lives in the US, has also come here.
The Wankhede has changed completely.
From the intimate concrete bowl it has now
become a classy monster. Tendulkar is still
there. Possibly one last time, but he is still
batting. A banner in Wankhede says, "Now
only humans will play cricket."
At 4.54pm, Tendulkar has played out the
last ball of the day. He is 38 off 73.
The crowd at Tendulkar's feet
walks out to bat in his
final Test, India v
West Indies, second
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