An hour before the game, the Master descended the steps of the dressing room and the Kotla came alive. Sachin made his way to the middle, and after the mandatory handshakes, went to look at the wicket. He stood near the stumps, practiced a few shadow forward defensive shots before running his fingers over the surface to check it for firmness and moisture. Then, he joined his MI colleagues for training.
When told about the game being sold out because of him, he said with humility: "Upar wale ki kripa hai." Post-IPL, Sachin will take things step-by-step --- he has no immediate cricket plans other than to 'enjoy' the game. And yes, top on his to-do list is to spend time with the family.
Sanjay Manjrekar, meanwhile, was impressed by the intensity of the Daredevils' pre-match preparation, specially the workout of the bowlers. Before the toss, everyone ran in hard and bowled into a marked channel around off-stump. The support staff monitored the drill to ensure the quicks hit the right areas as soon as play starts.
(The writer is a Delhi Daredevils official)