For all the grand plans of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) surrounding Sachin Tendulkar’s penultimate Test at Eden Gardens, most turned out half-baked while the rest didn’t materialise at all.
Some tricolored balloons refused to take off on Friday. Not on any of the three days of the Test did 67,000 Sachin Tendulkar mask-wearing spectators celebrate the legend’s farewell together. Synchronized lifting of placards to form the face of Sachin did not happen. There was no Shane Warne or Sir Viv Richards at the official dinner where a book on Sachin was unveiled. Brian Lara too won’t have any reason to come any more.
The ambitious idea of showering 199kgs of rose petals on Sachin from three aircraft on the last day of the Test also fell flat because, the CAB officials didn’t expect the match to fold up with two days to spare. “We have not even placed the order for the roses, leave alone asking the aircraft to prepare for the event,” said an official.
And while the entire Eden Gardens was cheering for a quick and comprehensive victory, some men inside the CAB clubhouse were praying for the match to spill over to Saturday. “If we have even one hour on Saturday we can arrange for the aircraft to shower petals in the morning itself,” said a desperate official.
Some blamed the pitch. Others swore they had never seen 'a worse team who couldn’t bat out two sessions’. Another decision that had even the top CAB officials sweating over was when would be a good time to call Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for the post-match presentation ceremony.
Emergency meetings were held as anxious officials kept looking out to see how the match progressed. With Shivnarine Chanderpaul still grinding it out they had hope. But once West Indies were seven down, the ‘call’ was finally made.
So out came the silk stole and turban, a banyan tree with 199 gold leaves, a miniature Durga idol and a painting, all of which were presented to Tendulkar with indebted smiles and thank you notes. But one of the spectators summed up the feeling best. “We didn't even realise Thursday was the last time we saw him bat at Eden,” he said.
India might have won but there’s no missing that sinking feeling at Eden.