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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mumbai Celebrating Sachin Tendulkar!



The retiring cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar fever has consumed his home city Mumbai with temperatures increasing as the second Test between India and West Indies after which the legend is to make the final goodbye to cricket nears. Everywhere fans are talking about him, the media channels producing special programs on him and the newspapers carrying special features on his achievements and glory. At different levels of cricket organizers and the state government felicitation programs are being held routinely or planned during the next few days.

The Maharashtra Government had already formed a special felicitation committee with the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Ministers as members. Last evening a grand naming ceremony was organized at a Mumbai suburb where the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) dedicated a sprawling world-class sports facility as Sachin Tendulkar Gymkhana. In a colorful and vibrant function the legend participated expressing his deep gratitude and genuine cricket emotions. Union Ministers, state Ministers including the Chief Minister, cricket biggies, celebrities and fans were present on this great occasion.

Side effects of the raging fever were also visible. Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium where the historic second Test is scheduled to start on 14th November is much smaller than Eden Gardens in Kolkata and has a 32,000 capacity. Out of these possible tickets 17,000 were given to the cricket fraternity including associations and clubs all over the globe,: 8000 were given to sponsors and government officials and after some more adjustments just 5000 tickets were offered online for the general public. Imagine, Mumbai alone has a population of about 14 million. To make things worse for the fans the website selling tickets crashed yesterday due to unprecedented hits and this drove irate fans to the Wankhede Stadium in hope of finding tickets there. But there were none. Today morning online sale opened and immediately the sold out sign came on.

The master-blaster, rather unexpectedly for the fans gathered at the stadium, came out for net practice with most of his team mates today afternoon and the crowds were gratified beyond words. Members of the West Indies team had their session too earlier. The atmosphere at the Wankhede Stadium has got electrified already.

In the first Test in Kolkata India defeated West Indies by an innings and 51 runs and it was all over within three days. The fans there enjoyed their idol running around the field, bowling a few overs too and taking a wicket. However, they could see him bat only once and that too was cut short by an umpiring error. Apparently the curator of Eden Gardens wanted to make it sure India won that match as a mark of gratitude for their legendary team mate.  Fans in Mumbai are hoping Sachin Tendulkar bows out finally with a thundering batting performance at his home ground to make the ‘cricket’ part of the celebrations too as memorable as ever. A full five-day Test will also be the right finale for a historic event.
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