Where are your tickets, Mrs Tendulkar?

It was a bit of a shocker for Sachin Tendulkar’s wife Anjali when she was asked by a security guard at the entrance of the President’s Box to show her tickets yesterday.

Anjali Tendulkar
Anjali Tendulkar arrives at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble

A stunned Anjali, who was accompanied by her kids Arjun and Sara, was seen searching for her tickets at the last moment when an official from the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) intervened and let the family inside the Box.

Tendulkar’s son Arjun paid a tribute to his father by sporting an Adidas cap on which the words ‘SRT forever’ were written. Meanwhile, other members of the Tendulkar family like Sachin’s elder brother Ajit and his sister Savita, were at the ground at least an hour before the scheduled start of play.

Tendulkar’s mother Rajni, who was escorted to the President’s Box by Ajit, came in another car. Tendulkar’s mother was watching her son play for the first time at a ground.

Initially, the Tendulkars were guided towards another entrance for the President’s Box, but an alert MCA official rightly guided them to the correct entry. Tendulkar’s in-laws came a while later. His mother-in-law Annabel Mehta told MiD DAY: “It is a very emotional moment for the whole family.”

Achrekar watches Sachin
Tendulkar’s childhood coach and guru Ramakant Achrekar made his way to the Wankhede to watch his famous ward play his final international match. Ill health has prevented Achrekar from commuting, but he made an exception yesterday after Tendulkar personally went to invite his guru a few weeks ago.

Ramakant Achrekar and Ajit Tendulkar
Ramakant Achrekar with Ajit Tendulkar in the President’s Box. Pics/Rajesh Shah

Tendulkar’s wife was scheduled to pick up Achrekar from his home, but it was the coach’s daughter Kalpana who brought him to the stadium. Achrekar was escorted in a wheelchair to the President’s Box.

Arjun Tendulkar
Arjun Tendulkar sports a cap with the words ‘SRT Forever’ inscribed on it

In a spot
Sachin Tendulkar is known to be a perfectionist. Right from his preparations to his cricketing gear, Tendulkar wants everything in perfect shape. It is learnt that the batting maestro was not happy with the material of the white cloth which was being used as an extension above the sight screen.

The groundsmen at the Wankhede promptly had it changed a few minutes before the start of the opening day’s play.  “Tendulkar is very particular about his cricket. He is so focused that he looks into every minute detail,” an MCA official said. It is also learnt that about 150 tickets were lost because of the sight screen extension.

No VIP treatment for Joshi
Former MCA president and chief minister of Maharashtra, Manohar Joshi, made a quiet entry into the Wankhede. While all celebrities and important guests made their way either to the President’s Box or the Grand Stand, Joshi had to walk all the way to a corporate box seat in the Sachin Tendulkar Stand.

For the record, MCA president Sharad Pawar, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, cabinet minister Kapil Sibal and a few other political bigwigs were seated in the President’s Box. Joshi, initially, started walking towards the President’s Box, but soon learnt that his tickets were for the Tendulkar Stand. No MCA official was there to escort him. It was only a little later that an MCA volunteer accompanied him and his son to the stand.

A friend of Joshi nevertheless requested the veteran politician to take his seat in the Garware Pavilion, but he seemed happy with the seat he was allotted. “I will sit wherever I have been allotted. I am coming here (at Wankhede) after a year. Whether I will come on all days will depend upon how the match progresses,” Joshi told MiD DAY.

SRT will be missed: Aamir
It was surprising to see Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan take the mike in the commentary box for Tendulkar’s farewell match. Aamir has been a close friend of the batting great and was his long-time neighbour in Bandra.

Aamir Khan
Aamir Khan. Pic/Suresh KK

Aamir, who will be present at the stadium for all the five days of the Test, told MiD DAY: “It is a huge occasion for the whole country. I can see a lot of emotions around. It (the frenzy around Tendulkar’s retirement) is quite understood. Even I am caught up in this whole thing. Sachin will definitely be missed.” Oscar-nominated movie Lagaan’s director Ashutosh Gowarikar accompanied Aamir for the match.

‘Let Sachin bowl, Dhoni’
It was a unique experience for fans at the Wankhede yesterday as they could see their wishes to Tendulkar on the giant screens in the stadium.
The organisers had specially created an application which the fans in the stadium could download and use to post their messages.

It was clear that the fans who had turned up on Day One wanted to see the Little Master in action, but after MS Dhoni opted to bowl despite winning the toss, fans were anticipating Tendulkar to at least roll his arm.

There were a few messages which flashed across the screens requesting Dhoni to allow Tendulkar to bowl as only the last West Indies wicket was remaining. However, Dhoni did not grant their wish and the West Indies were bowled out for a paltry 182.

Sachin a true icon: Lloyd
Former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd, who is an invitee for Tendulkar’s landmark match, was effusive in his praise of the legendary batsman as he ends his glorious career on his home ground. “I see all the good things about cricket in Sachin. He is truly an icon of the game in the world. I wish him well for life post-retirement,” Lloyd told MiD DAY as he made his way to the President’s Box. Lloyd also felicitated Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who was playing his 150th Test.

When time stood still
The MCA probably forgot to check the huge clock on the wall displaying the MCA logo and Wankhede Stadium signage next to the Divecha Pavilion yesterday morning. Had they done so, they would have noticed that the clock wasn’t ticking. The analog clock displayed a constant 11:30 right from start of play (9:30am) till post-lunch (12pm). To this, one Smart Alec in the press box quipped: “See, even time has stood still for Sachin.”  Thankfully, the authorities rectified the error and the clock began working in the afternoon.

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