Bangalore, Aug 22: When Sachin Tendulkar walks onto the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium ground in Hyderabad on Thursday, he will begin a new innings in cricket. It will be the commencement of his journey as Member of Parliament-cricketer. August 23 marks the first day in India colours for MP Tendulkar in his 189th Test.
Breaking records and setting new benchmarks is not new to Tendulkar. In just over two months time, the Master Blaster will complete 23 years in international cricket. No cricketer has managed to survive the rigours of the game at the top. Tendulkar, since 1989 has done what he loves best. Bat, bat and bat.
No bowling attack is spared when the man from Mumbai is at the crease. Runs have kept flowing out of his willow in every format of the game.
Already a record-holder for highest Test and One Day International runs, maximum number of appearances in both formats, Tendulkar has set another record of being the first active sportsperson in the country to become a member of Rajya Sabha.
On Thursday, another record will be set when he becomes the first MP in the country to play Test cricket.
The 39-year-old was nominated to the Upper House in April. Recently he attended his first Parliament session and he will be back on the cricket field.
"My focus will definitely be on cricket," Tendulkar had said after taking oath as an MP in June.
For more than a decade, Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman formed the backbone of Indian batting in Tests. However, with the departure of Dravid, first and recently Laxman, Tendulkar and India will start a new era.
In the absence of Dravid and Laxman, Tendulkar's responsibility will increase. Having played for more than 22 years under pressure, Tendulkar's role will now be to help the young replacements to carry the Indian batting forward.
Tendulkar has already said it is impossible to replace Dravid and commenting on Laxman's retirement, said he will feel a "big void" when he walks out to bat in Hyderabad.
Having had many memorable partnerships with Dravid and Laxman, Tendulkar's Test debut as an MP, might be an emotional one. For many years, Tendulkar, the batsman, enjoyed batting in the company of his two friends.
With a new dawn, Tendulkar's approach might have to change. Now, there is no "Mr. Dependable" Dravid and Laxman to bail the team out with some very very special knocks.
MP Tendulkar and India will miss Dravid-Laxman combination. It is now time for Tendulkar to ensure that Indian batting is in good health.