Mumbai: They won the World Cup for him. They won the IPL for him. Then came the Champions League, and they won it too. When the inspiration is Sachin Tendulkar, it is foolhardy to expect anything less than 110% from any Indian, and Team India on Saturday reiterated the point, for one last time.
Let’s be honest, it was never meant to be a Test series. It was intended to be a glorious send-off to country’s most famous son, and it turned out to be an unprecedented farewell for an unprecedented icon. The icon himself wouldn’t have settled for anything less than a win, and the third generation of Indian cricketers representing India since Sachin first took guard in Pakistan fulfilled its Master’s wish, with some serious style that is.
India wrapped up Sachin’s final Test- also his 200th- inside three days. They did it in Kolkata too, and like Eden, an innings defeat was inflicted on West Indies. It was the tour to Windies where Sachin wanted to make his Test debut in 1988-89.Quite ironically, he faced the Caribbeans in his final lap.
For the record, India won the game by an innings and 126 runs. Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha finished with 10 wickets from the Test, Rohit Sharma notched his second Test hundred in his second Test innings, and the ever consistent Cheteshwar Pujara scored his fourth Test hundred. And then, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar scored 74 memorable runs.
The Little Master rolled his arm over too, drawing delirious cheers from a passionate Wankhede. For better part of the day, he manned the fence at long leg, sending the stands behind him in crazed frenzy.
He left the field to an emotional guard of honour, and a nation froze as Tendulkar wiped off a little tear from his eyes.