x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Where were you when Sachin Tendulkar played his last shot for India ...

Mumbai is hardly likely ever to be lacking for a crowd. But this week will get a little more crowded than usual as the city bids farewell to one of its most prominent sons. Goodbye Sachin Tendulkar.

In the years to come many may sit over a cup of tea and recall where they were when cricketer Sachin Tendulkar played his final shot for India. The 39-year-old batsman, the world's leading scorer in both Test and one-day cricket, is retiring from all forms of the game after the Test against West Indies. Indranij Mukherjfe / AFP
In the years to come many may sit over a cup of tea and recall where they were when cricketer Sachin Tendulkar played his final shot for India. The 39-year-old batsman, the world's leading scorer in both Test and one-day cricket, is retiring from all forms of the game after the Test against West Indies. Indranij Mukherjfe / AFP

Mumbai is hardly likely ever to be lacking for a crowd. But this week will get a little more crowded than usual as the city bids farewell to one of its most prominent sons.

Everyone who is anyone is out to make sure they are at Wankhede Stadium, ostensibly for the second Test against West Indies, but really for the 200th and last Test of Tendulkar. Fans have travelled from around the country and the world.

The problem is the Wankhede holds only 32,000 so a lot of people will be disappointed. Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) decided to sell tickets to the public only online and, predictably, on Monday, the site crashed almost as soon as tickets became available.

In any case only 5,000 of those seats were available online. The rest, as is inevitably the way in the subcontinent, will be handed out to corporate and sponsor bigwigs and various clubs.

“We have certain channels through which tickets find their way to the members of public,” said Ravi Savant, the MCA vice president.

He said MCA has a commitment to give tickets to social and sports clubs. “These clubs in turn sell it to their members, who are members of the public … If the capacity is 30,000 and demand is 30 lakhs [three million] I cannot give tickets to everyone.”

So high is the demand in fact that it will hardly matter ultimately what Tendulkar does as a departing trick, or what happens in the Test itself. This is an event for the ages, one everyone wants to get into or be seen at (Tendulkar himself has asked for 500 tickets).

Like the Kennedy assassination, people will remember what they were doing on the last day of Tendulkar’s Test career, rather than what actually happened.

osamiuddin@thenational.ae

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