Taking stance at the Kensville Golf and Country Club made it obvious that it was a different pitch, but the ability to strike the sweet spot (of the driver in this case), showed that a change of turf had had little impact on Sachin Tendulkar's ability.
The grip and follow through did not adhere to the manual, but striking off a high tee he touched the 200-yard mark. Watching the ball soar may have thrilled but the inability to middle it rankled.
In came a suggestion to push the tee deeper, the alteration added to his striking prowess with the ball going past 250 yards, and “the sound of the ball connecting with the (middle) of the club” continued to ring several hour later.
“It was fantastic,” he gushed. He was speaking in a new capacity, and though for a while, the transformation was complete.
Gone was the dark-blue tee and replacing it was a similar-hued outfit with the club logo.
That wasn't all; the rest of the gear was spanking new too. Clearly, Tendulkar had blended into his day-old role of a golf ambassador.
Much before his arrival on Friday, the diktat of “no cricket questions” had resonated several times through the portals.
“It is in respect of the 120 golfers assembled here (for the Gujarat Kensville Challenge),” was the organisers' argument.
Cricket was a no-no, but a query did have Tendulkar drawing a parallel between cricket and the sport he is open to embracing.
The talk was on mental toughness, and he remarked, “There are sessions when a bowler gets the better of you but to hang in there and see off that phase requires planning and mental strength. Similarly, playing out 18 holes requires vision.”
Deadline was approaching, but Tendulkar ensured he fulfilled his commitments with the golfers (a putting contest for charity) and fans before leaving.
He had come "home" and on the way back, the numerous billboards screaming, “Welcome home, Sachin Tendulkar,” would have brought on a smile.