Sachin Tendulkar... an upper cut for the one last time © PTI
Sachin Tendulkar… playing an upper cut for the one last time © PTI

On November 15, 2013, Sachin Tendulkar batted for the last time in Test cricket. His innings of 74 was a blast from the past and kept the crowd in raptures, making them ask for more. Tendulkar walked away from international cricket in an emotional farewell at his home ground in Mumbai. Nishad Pai Vaidya looks back at the day.

Time stood still when Darren Sammy held on to a blinder at first slip. It was a magnificent catch. The ball had taken a thick edge as the batsman shaped to cut and flew towards Sammy’s head. In a flash, Sammy got his hands up and completed the catch; falling to the ground with a glum expression on his face. The crowd was silent! In that one moment, a 24-year-old dream had ended. The nation’s darling walked off, possibly for the last time. Despite taking a brilliant catch, Sammy was overcome with emotion and couldn’t celebrate. Later, he said it was because of the respect he had for the man.

On this day in 2013, Sachin Tendulkar walked off after being dismissed for 74 — his last Test innings. The Wankhede Stadium was taken back in time as Tendulkar displayed his mastery in his final innings. For some time, he had struggled — being a shadow of himself. The retirement was round the corner, but when the announcement was made, there was disbelief. And it was more so when he was dismissed one final time during his 200th and final Test at his home venue.

On Day One, he had walked in the evening session amidst vociferous roars. Intent on leaving in style, he had shown the dominance of the old — playing the straight drive, cover drives and the sweeps. He finished the first day, unbeaten on 38. A fluent innings that sparked hopes of a farewell hundred.

Crowds flocked to the Wankhede on Day Two. Tendulkar took guard and started off well. Shane Shillingford was cut past point for a four and then swept for another. After a few quiet overs, Tendulkar got his half-century with a trademark straight-drive off Tino Best for a four. The crowd roared to celebrate. His family was relieved. His wife, Anjali Tendulkar waved to him, asking him to stay on as long as possible. Each shot was an event that day. Normally, Anjali wouldn’t come to the ground owing to her superstitious habit over the years, but this occasion was her last chance. Tendulkar’s mother, Rajni was also in attendance. Mind you, she had never seen him bat live until that day.

Tendulkar put his head down and continued to essay those dominant strokes. The fast bowler was punched for four through cover. The spinner was carted past point and then came another straight drive. Gradually, he moved into the 70s and the expectations soared. In an attempt to stop the scoring, Sammy employed Narsingh Deonarine’s gentle off-breaks.

Deonarine posed no threat with his innocuous deliveries. But, fate had the big wicket in store for him. Bowling one a bit on a length outside the off-stump, he forced Tendulkar to play the late cut. Disaster for India! Deonarine had walked into the league of Eric Hollies with that one delivery.

Tendulkar walked off waving the bat to the crowd. The cameras flashed on his family; his mother had a confused expression, almost asking, ‘Is it really over?’ The crowd got up in unanimity to applaud a great career. A part of them had left the limelight that day! A dream had come to an end.

What happened next?

–          India amassed a huge score with Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma completing centuries.

–          India finished the deal the next day by bundling out the West Indies cheaply.

–          Tendulkar delivered an emotional speech that left the crowd in tears. His speech was a great example of humility.

–          Virat Kohli succeeded Tendulkar at his accustomed No 4 spot.

Brief scores:

West Indies 182 (Kieran Powell 48; Pragyan Ojha 5 for 40) and 187 (Denesh Ramdin 53*; Pragyan Ojha 5 for 49) lost to India 495 (Cheteshwar Pujara 113, Sachin Tendulkar 74, Rohit Sharma 111*; Shane Shillingford 5 for 179) by an innings and 126 runs.

Man of the Match: Pragyan Ojha

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)