Lions v Mumbai Indians, Group B, CLT20, Jo'burg October 14, 2012

Throngs for Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar drew the biggest cheers from the Wanderers crowd, as though they realised it may be the last time they were watching him play
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The match between Chennai Super Kings and Sydney Sixers had ended, when a throng of people clogged the walkway between the change-room and the nets. Occasionally after play, some stragglers will wander along that area, hoping for a glimpse of player or an autograph. Seldom has it been so difficult to move through there.

It took a while for realisation to hit and an explanation to be found for the traffic. Sachin Tendulkar was in town. Of course.

Tendulkar has been to South Africa several times before. Only two summers ago, he scored his 50th Test century down the road at SuperSport Park. He has played in all sorts of formats, colours and competitions here. In fact, South African fans may be part of a group that get to see him more often than people in other countries do, and over the years it seemed as though they had become accustomed to his presence.

This evening, thousands waited to see if Tendulkar would emerge from the practice area, if he would pop his head out of the dressing room or could be spotted through a window. He was nowhere to be seen.

Minutes later, the air at the Wanderers seemed to have electricity running through it. Tendulkar stepped onto the field to open the batting with Dwayne Smith and it was as though nothing else in the world mattered.

The same sentiment was evident in the Lions bowlers' approach. They seemed too focused on Tendulkar and almost forgot there was a batsman at the other end. With repeated short balls directed Tendulkar's way, careless length deliveries were sent to Smith.

Apart from the two internationals, Dirk Nannes and Sohail Tanvir, Lions had an inexperienced pace attack. Chris Morris' youth showed when he surprised Tendulkar with a bouncer that was clocked at 144 kph. He tried to do it again but couldn't, and was hit for back-to-back fours by Smith in that over, and two fours in the next. Even Tanvir got carried away and slipped in the short ball to Tendulkar.

Only when the spinner came on was some calm brought back to Lions' attack. Aaron Phangiso was not scared by Tendulkar and gave the ball generous flight. He should have had Tendulkar stumped but then bowled him two balls later. The celebrations were not wild, certainly not as wild as they were in 2010 when Shane Burger, who was probably even less well known than Phangiso, dismissed Tendulkar.

The rest of the match seemed to happen with a haze over it. The crowd became substantially smaller and less vocal, although that could have had something to do with the temperature dropping and a nasty wind picking up. Only when Lions got closer did something change.

Memories of 2010 came back as the people who had stayed behind began to cheer on their home side. "Ole, Ole," was chanted. Neil McKenzie, a legend in his own right at this ground, played what looked like the most carefree innings of the day. McKenzie did not struggle to time the ball so he did not have to rely on power hitting. By the time he had finished, Tendulkar seemed far from the remaining people's thoughts.

The reality is that this could be the last time Tendulkar plays in South Africa. Nobody knows when the end will be, though. If this is indeed Tendulkar's last visit to these shores, at least he would have done a fairly proper round trip. Mumbai play two matches at the Wanderers, one in Cape Town and one in Durban. If they make it to the semi-finals, they could play at Centurion as well. No doubt the crowds will swell to see him.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Johnny_129 on October 16, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    Sachin has been the great batsman of the modern era. Unfortunately, he has messed up the timing of his retirement. Like Imran Khan said, Sachin should have retired after winning the WC - no better time. Team India is on a downward slide and I doubt they will get a great victory fitting to farewell Sachin in the near future. It is VERY SAD that this great batsman will get an unceremonious exit from the game!

  • Des_65 on October 16, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    Tendlya is probably practising for upcoming Test series in India against England & Australia as well as for the next SA tour.

  • prashant1 on October 16, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    @ALEX ALLEYNE - Beautifully put and so true. Pure Silk.

  • fjurang on October 16, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    Its more heartbreaking to see a legendary batsman struggling and missing couple of deliveries from an ordinary left arm bowler and then getting himself bowled with his feet and bat haywire. His heart and soul still may be young but physically he is slowing down and for T20 cricket its high time Tendulkar either perform or perish irrespective being a legendary. I am very impressed of young Indian Under 19 cricket captain playing for Delhi Daredevils. He looks a Tendulkar for India in the future.

  • HURRICANE.Sehwag on October 15, 2012, 19:14 GMT

    The day sachin retires it's gonna be a heartbreak for all the people who want him to retire (except the jealous ones) because they're the ones who want him to do so because they can't bear his failure. They want him to sign off on a high note. I empathize with them :P.

  • FRRR on October 15, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    Sachin was always over rated. He was never a threat like Pointing and Lara was. If 1 billion start calling some one legend, he does not become one. He should prove on the field.

  • Rahul17_1983 on October 15, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    Sachin might be anything.You can compare him with lara and Ponting.But how can somebody compare him to Inzi.He can be compared to Yuvi,Jadeja etc.Sachin,Bradman,Lara,Sobers,Ponting are in different class.But as Paki don't have any gr8 batting idol they can.But if they want to comapare than saeed anwar would come close than this Inzi.Apart from 1 inning in WC 1992 I don't remember ne gr8 innings by him.And to be honest it could b a fluke.

  • on October 15, 2012, 13:09 GMT

    SRT Loosing Respect from Millions..Its time to say GOOD BYE

  • onkar567 on October 15, 2012, 12:59 GMT

    sachin is and will remain the best ever cricketer to have stepped on this planet....those who criticize him will get the answer in a just very few innings from now THE GOD HIMSELF SAYS--- WHEN SOMEONE HITS STONES AT U,CONVERT THEM INTO MILESTONE.SURELY A RECORD IS IN OUR WAITING..go sachin,pls dont retire -people in india will stop watching cricket.........!!!! BEST OF LUCK FOR THE UPCOMING MATCHES,U WILL SURELY SCORE & SCORE BIG... :)

  • fjurang on October 15, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    What stupid idea, whether Sachin scores a hundred or duck he should continue playing because he is a legend. Cricket is game and every team plays to win. When a legend keeps on failing and the teams keeps on losing and still keep on playing him because he is a legend? Sachin have the cricketing skills but his timings, eye hand cordination is slowing down. Majority of his last ten innings have been bowled. That clearly shows his relexes are slowing down in defending his wicket. He have to accept his age and slowing down as time passes by as he is not super human, but normal human being.

  • Johnny_129 on October 16, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    Sachin has been the great batsman of the modern era. Unfortunately, he has messed up the timing of his retirement. Like Imran Khan said, Sachin should have retired after winning the WC - no better time. Team India is on a downward slide and I doubt they will get a great victory fitting to farewell Sachin in the near future. It is VERY SAD that this great batsman will get an unceremonious exit from the game!

  • Des_65 on October 16, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    Tendlya is probably practising for upcoming Test series in India against England & Australia as well as for the next SA tour.

  • prashant1 on October 16, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    @ALEX ALLEYNE - Beautifully put and so true. Pure Silk.

  • fjurang on October 16, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    Its more heartbreaking to see a legendary batsman struggling and missing couple of deliveries from an ordinary left arm bowler and then getting himself bowled with his feet and bat haywire. His heart and soul still may be young but physically he is slowing down and for T20 cricket its high time Tendulkar either perform or perish irrespective being a legendary. I am very impressed of young Indian Under 19 cricket captain playing for Delhi Daredevils. He looks a Tendulkar for India in the future.

  • HURRICANE.Sehwag on October 15, 2012, 19:14 GMT

    The day sachin retires it's gonna be a heartbreak for all the people who want him to retire (except the jealous ones) because they're the ones who want him to do so because they can't bear his failure. They want him to sign off on a high note. I empathize with them :P.

  • FRRR on October 15, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    Sachin was always over rated. He was never a threat like Pointing and Lara was. If 1 billion start calling some one legend, he does not become one. He should prove on the field.

  • Rahul17_1983 on October 15, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    Sachin might be anything.You can compare him with lara and Ponting.But how can somebody compare him to Inzi.He can be compared to Yuvi,Jadeja etc.Sachin,Bradman,Lara,Sobers,Ponting are in different class.But as Paki don't have any gr8 batting idol they can.But if they want to comapare than saeed anwar would come close than this Inzi.Apart from 1 inning in WC 1992 I don't remember ne gr8 innings by him.And to be honest it could b a fluke.

  • on October 15, 2012, 13:09 GMT

    SRT Loosing Respect from Millions..Its time to say GOOD BYE

  • onkar567 on October 15, 2012, 12:59 GMT

    sachin is and will remain the best ever cricketer to have stepped on this planet....those who criticize him will get the answer in a just very few innings from now THE GOD HIMSELF SAYS--- WHEN SOMEONE HITS STONES AT U,CONVERT THEM INTO MILESTONE.SURELY A RECORD IS IN OUR WAITING..go sachin,pls dont retire -people in india will stop watching cricket.........!!!! BEST OF LUCK FOR THE UPCOMING MATCHES,U WILL SURELY SCORE & SCORE BIG... :)

  • fjurang on October 15, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    What stupid idea, whether Sachin scores a hundred or duck he should continue playing because he is a legend. Cricket is game and every team plays to win. When a legend keeps on failing and the teams keeps on losing and still keep on playing him because he is a legend? Sachin have the cricketing skills but his timings, eye hand cordination is slowing down. Majority of his last ten innings have been bowled. That clearly shows his relexes are slowing down in defending his wicket. He have to accept his age and slowing down as time passes by as he is not super human, but normal human being.

  • on October 15, 2012, 11:06 GMT

    Due to longevity of play he (Sachin) seems to be exhausted badly. His flair of batting and flamboyance has been eroded. Though he is a family friend of Ambani's, the Franchise owners of Mumbai Indians, if MM to make to the Semi Finals, replacement of a hard hitting aggressive batsman is essential.

  • imrankhan76uk on October 15, 2012, 10:54 GMT

    I wonder why some other batting legends like Sunil Gavasker, Viv Richard, BC Lara, punter, David Boon (bcoz of his Mustache), Saeed Anwar, Inzi don't play anymore....whyyyyyy :))

  • cric_kumar on October 15, 2012, 9:15 GMT

    True to the article after sachin got out nobody in my house cared to watch the game thats what makes sachin so special even if he scores a hundred or a duck doesnt matter much, he is blessed with so much love to others envy!

  • CricketMaan on October 15, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    Am i the only one who thinks he might call it a day in ODIs after Pak series in Dec? Might even play one of the T20s as a farewell gift from BCCI?..

  • Nutcutlet on October 15, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    It's 2012: pick SRT in your side to give your opponents a clear advantage. On the plus side, the gate receipts will be up. SRT - always a winner, even when his star is fading. Remember the expression: worth the candle? Is he, now, in 2012?

  • ladycricfan on October 15, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    Tendulkar has passed his prime and is fading infront of our very own eyes. It has become a common sight for him getting bowled. He should seriously consider retirement in all forms of the game sooner rather than later.

  • fab4_india on October 15, 2012, 6:57 GMT

    Leave him alone...y all keep on running after SRT after every innings he fails?? He is the face of Indian Cricket. He is crowd puller, and thats y no team dare to drop him...he is most precious diamond of India...and will be forever...those u say he is selfish just think y he is still playing?? what is left to prove, what is left to earn?? Fame, Name, money he got all...even if his kids dont earn whole life, they can still live a lavish life...The day SRT declares his retirement, Broadcasters will run after him to get him in commentary team..he can earn from there too..he can become experts on various news channel..but he dont want all that...so its simple he plays coz he loves CRICKET...so all of u, just shut ur beaks and let the master play...number of runs, wickets, 4s 6s catches SRT has taken, am sure no one here has done even in street cricket...so stop teaching MASTER...

  • kash2011 on October 15, 2012, 6:42 GMT

    another bowled??this time by a local left-arm spinner....end of an era is closer

  • Mr.RockOn on October 15, 2012, 6:29 GMT

    Mumbai Indians will be knocked out pretty soon as long as SRT and Mishit Sharma will continue to play at the top of the order. Opening the innings and scoring even 50 of 49 balls is not good enough, in case if either one of them does score 50.

  • braindead_rocker on October 15, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    A living legend...A man so great that only few know his real value. Those who abuse him now will regret it when he retires. Cricket will never ever be the same.

  • sunny346 on October 15, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    @ Tariq Mohiuddin and @ Thermal_sytem both u guys know how many runs sachin scored .. first go and check that ..sachin is not a god he will also have some bad days..dont be to crazy guys ..ask lara ,inzi,pnting whoes is best whether they say their name or sachin name...who r u and me to say some x player is great .. we need to rescpect every good player ... first know how to be gentleman by obeying others ...good luck to sachin for rest of matches ...

  • on October 15, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    I think this is the 3rd or 4th time we are listening to this "this could be the last time Tendulkar plays in South Africa"

  • on October 15, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    If Sachin scores less than 20 and India loses, he is burden in the team. If he scores a century and India loses, it's Sachin's fault.

  • krik8crazy on October 15, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    Take it easy guys. This is just a club game. Let the man play to his heart's content for his club. He still draws crowds. When he is no longer of value his club owners will ask him to step aside.

  • fjurang on October 15, 2012, 3:08 GMT

    Mr. Sachin Tendulkar the great Indian Cricketer and I am being Sri Lankan I really admire his cricketing abilities. As years and days passes by you get older and as a cricketer your reflexes gradually becomes slower and playing your favourites strokes becomes difficult. Having watch the Mumbai Indians match I was very sad to see you struggling to score runs and end scoring 16 runs in 24 balls. You played some lovely strokes but overall you was struggling keep up the rate ultimately Mumbai Indians paid the price by losing the match. You have been greatest cricketer Indian have produced but dont become the greatest liability to any team as no cricketing Manager or selector have the guts to drop you from the team. So I would advice, I do not want you doing the same biggest mistake what Sanath Jayasuriya did by playing himself to long until he was unceremoniasly dumped by the selectors. Kindly retire its better to be a asset than being a liability for a team.

  • on October 15, 2012, 2:37 GMT

    Most over rated abd boring player ... just media huype, Lara , Ponting and Inzi were much better than him... please retire

  • Htc-Android on October 15, 2012, 1:36 GMT

    sachin wont retire until his son gets into the team. he is holding his spot so his son can take his spot in future. Ponting and lara are so much better than sachin. both are match winners. whenever he scores a hundred india loses that game. even india lost to Bangladesh after sachin scoring a hundred.

  • EverybodylovesSachin on October 15, 2012, 1:30 GMT

    Sachin the best I have ever seen..best batsman..people expect lot from him to score century every game..he scored 100 what you want..Enjoy the MASTER till you can .. he will be gone within a year or two.. He will go on HIGH..for sure just wait and see..and take it easy..my impatience friends..

  • on October 15, 2012, 1:07 GMT

    crowd overrates a player based on the relentless performances the payer has given...the player has to earn his "overrated-ness". The guy who is saying Lara and Ponting were better...has clearly never played cricket

  • Nadeem1976 on October 15, 2012, 0:56 GMT

    yeh only indian don't know how to give respect to the best cricketer ever, if sachin goes to pakistan millions of people will come to watch him. It's just indians who don't like Sachin any more because india won the WC for him and now they want him to retire so that they can move on.

  • on October 15, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    every cricketer loves his game . that is for only reason they play. without contributing and slow in field will hurt the team. now a days its painful to see the SRT in cricket field. He should now play with his kid at some backyard look at neil mackenzie batting. silken touch and sheer timing. kesavkoundinya

  • BillyBlue on October 15, 2012, 0:29 GMT

    FRRR 1st off, playing a 100 years WILL make anyone, let alone Tendulkar, a great/legend of ANY game; cuz as of now, its just a humanly impossible thing to do. 2ndly, yes there are other players who have played a lot longer than Tendulkar, but NONE ONE OF THOSE, OR ANYONE ELSE in the history of cricket have come anywhere close to scoring a 100 INTERNATIONAL centuries ( over 70% of which came in a winning cause for his country). Then there is the 1st of only 2 200s ever scored in the 40 years of ODI history, scored against a very strong SA bowling attack, unlike Hayden's 380 against a weak Bangla team. So yes there is a very credible & strong case to call Tendulkar a gr8 & a true legend of the game. Cricket fans need to stop being PETTY & just enjoy the twilight of a gr8 career, while we still have the oppurtunity. Personally, on current form I don't see him lasting another 6 months - but that does not take away anything from the brilliant, dizzying & starry career he has had so far.

  • on October 14, 2012, 23:58 GMT

    Sachin may be India's Bradman in the past; but now he is India's Jayasurya, ex-dasher and Member of Parliament of Sri Lanka. Have they (SL) finally manged to convince Jaya to retire?

  • on October 14, 2012, 22:13 GMT

    You gave us innings after innings laced with pure silk . Few have been better . One of the best batsmen the world will ever see. SACHIN TENDULKAR.

  • CricketChat on October 14, 2012, 21:39 GMT

    One more result that proves SRT is way past his time. Lions played like one today. Good to see newbies showing some guts against more established teams.

  • om.pani on October 14, 2012, 21:35 GMT

    Sachin don't embarrass yourself please retire.its really hurt to see legend of Cricket struggling against Mediocre Bowling.thank god morkle or stayn not balling to him.

  • FRRR on October 14, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    Most over rated cricketer the game has ever seen .... Playing for 100 years will not make some one great. Pointing and Lara were better

  • Al_Bundy1 on October 14, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    The Most over-rated cricketer the game has ever seen.

  • HURRICANE.Sehwag on October 14, 2012, 20:08 GMT

    BooHooo! What's all this fuss about? Let him play if he wants to, he still plays because of his love for the game.

  • warneneverchuck on October 14, 2012, 19:42 GMT

    Most popular cricketer the game has ever seen

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • warneneverchuck on October 14, 2012, 19:42 GMT

    Most popular cricketer the game has ever seen

  • HURRICANE.Sehwag on October 14, 2012, 20:08 GMT

    BooHooo! What's all this fuss about? Let him play if he wants to, he still plays because of his love for the game.

  • Al_Bundy1 on October 14, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    The Most over-rated cricketer the game has ever seen.

  • FRRR on October 14, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    Most over rated cricketer the game has ever seen .... Playing for 100 years will not make some one great. Pointing and Lara were better

  • om.pani on October 14, 2012, 21:35 GMT

    Sachin don't embarrass yourself please retire.its really hurt to see legend of Cricket struggling against Mediocre Bowling.thank god morkle or stayn not balling to him.

  • CricketChat on October 14, 2012, 21:39 GMT

    One more result that proves SRT is way past his time. Lions played like one today. Good to see newbies showing some guts against more established teams.

  • on October 14, 2012, 22:13 GMT

    You gave us innings after innings laced with pure silk . Few have been better . One of the best batsmen the world will ever see. SACHIN TENDULKAR.

  • on October 14, 2012, 23:58 GMT

    Sachin may be India's Bradman in the past; but now he is India's Jayasurya, ex-dasher and Member of Parliament of Sri Lanka. Have they (SL) finally manged to convince Jaya to retire?

  • BillyBlue on October 15, 2012, 0:29 GMT

    FRRR 1st off, playing a 100 years WILL make anyone, let alone Tendulkar, a great/legend of ANY game; cuz as of now, its just a humanly impossible thing to do. 2ndly, yes there are other players who have played a lot longer than Tendulkar, but NONE ONE OF THOSE, OR ANYONE ELSE in the history of cricket have come anywhere close to scoring a 100 INTERNATIONAL centuries ( over 70% of which came in a winning cause for his country). Then there is the 1st of only 2 200s ever scored in the 40 years of ODI history, scored against a very strong SA bowling attack, unlike Hayden's 380 against a weak Bangla team. So yes there is a very credible & strong case to call Tendulkar a gr8 & a true legend of the game. Cricket fans need to stop being PETTY & just enjoy the twilight of a gr8 career, while we still have the oppurtunity. Personally, on current form I don't see him lasting another 6 months - but that does not take away anything from the brilliant, dizzying & starry career he has had so far.

  • on October 15, 2012, 0:31 GMT

    every cricketer loves his game . that is for only reason they play. without contributing and slow in field will hurt the team. now a days its painful to see the SRT in cricket field. He should now play with his kid at some backyard look at neil mackenzie batting. silken touch and sheer timing. kesavkoundinya