While the news of Wankhede Stadium to host batting icon Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th and last ever Test was revealed by Mumbai Cricket Association president Ravi Savant a few days ago, yesterday’s announcement of Kolkata as the venue for Tendulkar’s 199th Test should bode well with cricket lovers all over India. The Board’s Tour Programme and Fixture committee has done well in picking Kolkata because it can house more people than any other venue among the metro grounds -- pproximately 67,000.
The electric atmosphere at Eden Gardens for the November 6-10 Test will do justice for a farewell of Tendulkar’s stature. Its vast expanse will encourage overseas fans to hope for a seat if they want to witness the end of Tendulkar’s career, something which could be difficult when it comes to Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium whose capacity is believed to be just 32,000. Cricket officials will do well to stretch their marketing of the Test to cricket lovers from abroad as well.
Doubtless, Eden Gardens will provide the best dress rehearsal to Tendulkar’s November 14-18 final fling. It’s also a venue where he has enjoyed a fair degree of success in Test cricket -- 12 Tests, 862 runs and two centuries at 47.88.
It’s a venue that has a history of riots and Tendulkar will remember having to come out and calm them down when they reacted violently to his run out dismissal in the Asian Test Championship game in 1999. A section of the crowd felt his dismissal was caused because Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar blocked his path to safety. Ultimately, the final day of the Test wasplayed out in front of empty stands. All the same, Eden will be like heaven on November 6.