Sachin Tendulkar fever grips Bengal

Updated: Monday, November 4, 2013, 16:58 [IST]
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Kolkata, Nov 4: With two days to go for the start of Sachin Tendulkar's 199th Test match - his penultimate - at the Eden Gardens here, cricket fever has gripped Bengal with exhaustive preparations being made to ensure a grand send-off to the master blaster.

Both the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) and the state sports ministry have swung into action to mark the momentous event. Special arrangements have been made so that fans do not miss out on seeing the master blaster create history.

Sachin Tendulkar fever grips Bengal

The carnival began Sunday when a tableau bearing the life-size cardboard cutouts of Tendulkar and festooned with lights, was flagged off from the Eden Gardens with a message board for fans.

The Bengal government plans to set up 200 giant screens across the state to enable fans to watch the India-West Indies Test match. Such giant screens are also planned to be put up at shopping malls like South City and other popular spots in Kolkata.

As many as 20 billboards across the sprawling state capital have gone up displaying praises showered on him by cricketing legends like Don Bradman, Viv Richards, Kapil Dev and Barry Richards.

Thousands of his ardent admirers have grabbed match tickets that have become a collector's items with sketches and photos of Tendulkar printed on tickets for each of the days.

"Booked my ticket for the God's 199th Test. Master here I come to bid u a grand farewell for one last time," said Gourav Chakraborty, a banking official after booking his tickets.

While the city decks up to welcome the cricketing hero, lavish farewell gifts and occasions are in order for Tendulkar.

A one-of-a-kind silver banyan tree would be presented to him by the CAB, while "good friend" and renowned painter Sanatan Dinda is waiting to hand over a painting to Tendulkar, who is known to collect art.

On a sweeter side, the landmark, 128-year-old sweet shop Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick in south Kolkata is gearing up to give a sugary send-off to the cricketing genius with a five-pound (or roughly 2.3 kg) sandesh-cake that depicts Tendulkar holding a bat.

An exhibition of the maestro's 100 photos showcasing his mountainous achievements has also been organised. A gold coin with Tendulkar's photo would be unveiled Nov 5, and later used for the toss.

Meanwhile, local hosts CAB have said that each day of the Test will see different forms of celebrations to make the master's swansong appearance at the hallowed stadium an "affair to remember".

The master batsman will be greeted by the expected full house of 65,000 wearing his mask on Day One. All spectators in the galleries will be handed out Tendulkar masks on the opening day of the match.

On day two, spectators will be given placards to welcome the genius. As many as 199 bunches of night lanterns will float in the air to greet the batting great on day three.

A book on Tendulkar containing write-ups from eminent persons will be released on day four. One hundred and ninety-nine kg of rose petals will be showered from three two-seater aircrafts after the end of the match.

Even a musical tribute awaits Tendulkar at Eden with special compositions from the album "We Miss You Sachin" by city-based artist Piloo Bhattacharya, scheduled to be belted out from loudspeakers during the match.

When Tendulkar stepped into the arena Monday morning for a net session, a five-foot-four-inch wax replica greeted him at the entrance of the dressing room as clamouring fans gathered outside Eden Gardens for a glimpse of the maestro during practice.

On his arrival Sunday night, he was welcomed by CAB officials with 199 roses, amid jostling by hundreds of fans desperately trying to get close to him.


Story first published:  Monday, November 4, 2013, 16:00 [IST]
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