A cut-out of Sachin Tendulkar at the entrance to the Eden clubhouse. (Pradip Sanyal)
A shower of 199kg of rose petals as he takes the field and a foot-tall silver banyan with 199 golden leaves as a gift when he comes off it — that’s the 199th reason not to miss Sachin Tendulkar’s last tango at Eden.
Sources in the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) said the memento, to be crafted by a city jeweller, would be presented to Tendulkar during the prize distribution ceremony on November 10.
The memento’s design is being sent to Tendulkar for his approval before giving the jeweller the go-ahead.
Vivian Richards, Shane Warne, Brian Lara, Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman are among the invitees to Tendulkar’s penultimate Test and his last at the Eden Gardens, a venue he chose and the BCCI readily agreed to for the match against the West Indies.
Jagmohan Dalmiya, the CAB president, has sent out personal invitations to the guests and 25 VIP rooms have been booked at Taj Bengal for them.
Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan was on the guest list but he won’t be present, sources said.
“Eden Gardens missed out on Sourav Ganguly’s last match. We are trying to ensure that Tendulkar’s last outing here as a player becomes a memorable one,” said Subir Ganguly, joint secretary of the CAB.
“We will begin the celebration ahead of the match and take it to a crescendo on the last day,” he promised.
The celebration, insiders said, would begin on November 3 with a tableau of Tendulkar’s memorable cricketing moments hitting the streets. “The tableau will move around the city, stopping at intersections and playing songs dedicated to Sachin in Hindi and Bengali. Transport minister Madan Mitra is scheduled to flag off the tableau at the Eden Gardens,” said Biswarup Dey, the CAB treasurer.
The next day, Sourav and Sunil Gavaskar will inaugurate an exhibition of photographs of Sachin Tendulkar on the Maidan.
“We believe thousands who couldn’t buy a ticket will be hanging around the Eden Gardens when the match begins. This exhibition is for them to enjoy some of Tendulkar’s best moments through photographs,” Dey said.
The majority of the tickets to Tendulkar’s 199th Test are in the form of passes reserved for CAB members and affiliated associations and clubs. The 3,000-odd tickets sold online were gobbled up in a day.
The toss for the “Tendulkar Test”, beginning November 6, will be with a gold coin embossed with an image of cricket’s most-capped player.
The coin will be released at a function in a star hotel on the eve of the Test along with a 45-page booklet containing write-ups on the master by senior players and contemporaries ranging from Abdul Qadir to Shane Warne.
Qadir is an appropriate choice to write a tribute because it was Tendulkar’s four sixes off his bowling in one over during an exhibition match in 1989 that announced the then teenaged star’s arrival in international cricket.
“The booklet is a collector’s item and will be distributed free among those who have tickets to the match,” Dey said.
The first page of each sheaf of season tickets for the match has a drawing by Jogen Chowdhury, whose work adorns a wall of Tendulkar’s Mumbai home.
The sports channel broadcasting the Test will have large cut-outs of Tendulkar’s bat at all the gates of the Eden Gardens for fans to scribble their farewell messages.