Ending on a high

Bidding adieu... Sachin Tendulkar with his family acknowledges the Eden crowd.-K.R. DEEPAK

The moment when Mumbai Indians lifted its maiden IPL crown on May 26, Tendulkar realised it was the culmination of another quest in his great cricketing career that spanned almost 24 years.

“This is the right time to stop playing IPL. I am 40 (years old) and let’s accept the reality,” Tendulkar said waving to the Eden Gardens crowd that chanted “Sachin, Sachin” in ecstasy.

The hallowed stadium, the Eden Gardens, has seen almost 80 years of international cricket. It aptly served an ideal setting for the iconic cricketer to see his dream come to fruition.

“I had decided that this would be my last season. And now the ending is perfect,” Tendulkar told another legendary batsman, Sunil Gavaskar, after Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings by 23 runs in the final.

Tendulkar, who played 78 IPL matches scoring 2334 runs at an average of 34.83, had to sit out the final due to a wrist injury. But the star batsman’s presence was enough to galvanise the local support.

Sachin’s Mumbai Indians drew the loudest cheers from the capacity crowd, which appeared more inclined towards the ‘master blaster’ than the city’s son-in-law and the Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Dhoni’s wife Sakshi hails from the city). Sachin, accompanied by wife Anjali and daughter Sara, did the victory lap, acknowledging his gratitude to the unstinted support he has received from the Eden crowd.

— Amitabha Das Sharma