Sachin Tendulkar may want muted celebrations of his 40th birthday on Wednesday but the city of joy is all set to throw a huge party for the veteran Indian batsman.
The Mumbai Indians batsman, who happens to here on the special occasion for his IPL team’s clash against Kolkata Knight Riders tomorrow, will begin the day with a customary cake-cutting ceremony at the team hotel.
“We have arranged a special programme way ahead of the match (in the morning) where Tendulkar will cut a cake in front of the media and address the gathering,” Mumbai Indians team manager told PTI.
Tendulkar’s wife Anjali will join him tonight along with team owner Nita Ambani for more celebrations.
“He always prefers to celebrate his birthday quietly. He does not like partying and a big bash. It won’t be any different this time,” a person close to Tendulkar said.
Later ahead of their 8pm match, Tendulkar will cut a giant 40-pound cake specially ordered by the Cricket Association of Bengal in the lawn outside the dressing room.
“The CAB will want to celebrate even when he is 100, and we wish him a healthy and beautiful life,” CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya said.
The chocolate cake will be made up from special cocoa from Ghana and Madagascar.
“We will start preparing the cake sharp at 5am and it would take about six hours to bake,” chef Bikash Kumar said.
“40kg is no big deal as we have made bigger cakes than this but what is really big is it’s being made for the country’s icon. We are really proud of this,” the chef, who is a cricket fan and has earlier made cakes for city’s favourite son Sourav Ganguly, added.
The cake will have an image of Tendulkar and it could be that of the World Cup-winning moment of April 2, 2011.
“Besides, there will be 40 different expressions of Tendulkar around the cake,” a CAB official said.
The CAB had also felicitated Tendulkar during both the IPL teams’ meeting last year when the Indian batsman was presented with 100 guineas — one for each of his 100 centuries — on May 12, 2012.
A fan at Eden Gardens is waiting eagerly to present Tendulkar with a life-size sweet-stuffed bat of five feet and six inches — exactly the height of the senior most pro.
Good wishes have also started pouring in for the Mumbai batsman from all quarters.
“Sachin is a legend and what else can you say about him.I still remember vividly about Sachin’s Sharjah innings. He single-handedly beat us that day. Many many happy wishes for him on this special day,” former Adam Gilchrist said recalling Tendulkar’s 25th birthday innings of 134 in the Sharjah tri-nation cup final in 1998.
When told that he’s turning 40, Gilchrist added, “40th is it, yeah, okay. Doesn’t get any easy after 40, mate.”
Sri Lankan batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan said: “I only wish him that he plays more IPL and international matches, which will be good for the youngsters.”
In a career spanning 24 years, Tendulkar has virtually got almost all the batting record to his name other than Brian Lara’s Test highest of 400 not out.
Tendulkar, who has called it quits from the ODI format to prolong his Test career, has a colossal 18426 runs from 463 matches with 49 hundreds at an average of 44.83.
In the leading rungetters list of Test matches, Tendulkar is sitting on 15837 runs with 51 hundreds, way ahead of South African veteran Jacques Kallis who with 13128 runs is the only playing batsman to be in the race at fourth place.
Tendulkar has played only one T20 for India as he has limited his Twenty20 ambition to his franchise Mumbai Indians in the IPL.