But then, it was a benefit tie, and Tendulkar stayed back. For what followed was thorough entertaining cricket and the 3,000 odd fans got full worth of their money at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground in New Delhi today (April 26, 2005).
The Mumbaikar, in city to play a fund-raiser for former India international Gursharan Singh, spent only about an hour on the field but made sure that the event in honour of the former Ranji Trophy winning cricketer was a total success.
Early in the innings, Tendulkar was found short of the crease at the non-striker's end when a full-blooded straight drive by Mahendra Singh Dhoni kissed the bowler's fingers before knocking down the stumps.
The umpire's finger went up spontaneously upon a loud appeal. But K Hariharan, an international umpire, brought down his index finger in the same flow. Murali Kartik too was quick to mute his celebrations and walk back to his mark.
The crowd half realised and half-realised not. And when they fully realised, they decided it did not matter.
Tendulkar gave them their due. After a few knockdowns to get the timing right -- they did not use the proper cricket ball, you see -- the master cut loose. A 54-ball 90 laced with 15 fours and three sixes on all sides of the ground before he holed out to Sourav Ganguly in the deep satisfied the appetite.