West Indies in India 2013-14 November 4, 2013

Tendulkar farewell not a distraction - Richardson


West Indies team manager, Richie Richardson, has said that Sachin Tendulkar's farewell celebrations will not overshadow their preparations for the two-Test series against India starting at Eden Gardens on Wednesday.

According to Richardson, Tendulkar himself would make sure that all the attention would return to the game as soon as he walked in to face the first ball, and that West Indies would not be embarrassed to spoil his swansong.

"We are going to be playing hard. When we here last time, whenever Sachin came we bowled hard and fielded hard," Richardson told media at the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) office. A scheduled press conference by West Indies could not take place because the local police had locked themselves in the pressroom to have their own meeting. Richardson, who was meeting an Indian acquaintance with whom he had played at a local club in England, had to cut short the chat and address an impromptu briefing.

West Indies last won a series in India under Clive Lloyd's leadership 30 years ago. In 2011 under Sammy's captaincy, West Indies, despite losing the series 2-0, had shown a lot of character and were successful in denying Tendulkar his 100th century in the third Test in Mumbai.

According to Richardson, West Indies had the manpower and experience, but would have to work really hard to get the better of India. "India are going to play hard despite all the big thing about Sachin. The guys are very confident and are playing good cricket. They have their pride to maintain as well. So we don't expect India to come at us easy. We are going to have to work really hard. At the same time, we believe we can be competitive against India as we showed last time. We had a couple of bad sessions. It is a now a different series. So we are looking forward to a good challenge."

This is the second time in a week Richardson has promised that West Indies would play at high intensity, after he said the visitors would not give an inch to Tendulkar, during the warm-up match against Uttar Pradesh last week.

Still, it is hard not to feel overwhelmed by Tendulkar's farewell because it is everywhere. Cutouts of Tendulkar lifting the World Cup and playing a drive, a wax carving of him in a celebratory pose, pictures of him along with his family and local hero Sourav Ganguly adorn the porch of the CAB office. A popular soundtrack based on Tendulkar by a local singer was being played from the early morning.

On Monday, as photographers and TV reporters waited for hours to get Tendulkar to stand besides the wax replica, Darren Sammy and his team slipped in quietly through an adjacent door. Barely a few people noticed the visitors as all the attention was focused squarely on Tendulkar. Later, Chris Gayle wrapped up his batting drills quickly before leaving a training session to play the role of ambassador for a global watch brand. No one bothered. Tendulkar remained the centrepiece.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RAJARAMAN on November 5, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    These festivities are a distraction to SRT than WI ... this is the best chance for WI to win a test series in India after a very long time ... with inevitable failure of SRT, there will not be any interest left in anybody (including fellow players) to compete and succeed ... all will be busy preparing "farewell speeches" or training in "man-lifting" rather than serious cricket

  • Naresh on November 5, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    @realcricfan - Times have changed from the past and so farewell's in the past were less advertised. As has been said by many - he carried the nation's burden for 24 yrs and deserves utmost respect. Many of us grew up watching him blossom not only as a cricketer but a good human being, true dedication and now with old age it is obvious that he is not what he used to be as a batsman. For your information - Gavaskar, Warne, Lara, Bradman and Ian Chappell have all already said many good things about him - these were great players as well.

  • Dummy4 on November 5, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    For all for those thinking there is no context to this series except Sachin's farewell, think again! Many of the Indian players are fighting for a place in the test team for SA tour. Opening slot, middle order, seamers, spinners all positions are up for grabs for the tour to SA! Only the keeper position is secured and even there Dhoni would want to silence his test critics. M Vijay has been in poor domestic form. If he fails here there is a good chance of Gambhir sneaking in for SA if he performs well in Ranji. With Jadeja being favoured as the 6th batsman as he provides an extra bowler, there is only one middle order position left for which Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane will both fight. Already 3 spinners and 4 seamers in this squad off which only Umesh Yadav, Ashwin and to an extent Bhuvi can feel secured. Others will be under pressure to perform else they are at a risk to loose their spot to Zak and Bhajji who have both had a very good opening game in Ranji.

  • venu on November 5, 2013, 8:05 GMT

    @John Duchaussee: There is a difference between a WI hoping all Indians to fail and Indians hoping the opposite which is natural. As a neutral fan, one always wishes(or at least me) a best player to sign off nicely. I'm a big Becker fan and never supported Sampras. But when Sampras was playing his last US open(He didn't announce his retirement but deep down my heart I felt that was his last chance) I was rooting for his victory.

  • venu on November 5, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    @RealCricFan: "I hope WI will get SRT out cheaply every time he comes out to bat" Definitely Sachin and his fans are not like you and they don't wish like you. Do you like anyone in your real life? I feel for your mates :-)

  • venu on November 5, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    @RealCricFan: Either you are intelligent to grab some attention by passing these remarks or you are just a kid envying on someone's popularity :-) All the very best. Good to know that you do know about Gavaskar, Miandad and Co :-) Who else do you know? More than Dhoni, Sammy and co, you sound like you want some attention. I think they are all happy the way it is going :-)

  • Srinivas on November 5, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    @RealCricFan, I agree with most of what you said. Your brutally honest perspective might touch some sore points. Be prepared for the tempest!

  • Jay on November 5, 2013, 2:42 GMT

    @RealCricFan: Your screen name is a farce. Please change it ASAP. Sachin Tendulkar is a TITAN among humans. No cricketer even comes close. The players you mentioned are just good cricketers. But Tendulkar is more than just your average cricketer, he's the GOD of cricket is every way. He shouldered the nation's burden for over 25 years, is well respected, loved and cherished in every cricket playing nation beyond India. His fans devout their time purely to watch him bat and lose interest following this dismissal. No other cricketer commands that level of attention and devotion. If you don't like him, don't watch this series because this series is ALL about Sachin. Even the West Indians know that. I thank them for being a part of the festivities though.

  • Dummy4 on November 5, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    @cooljack. I am a West Indian who has supported our team for the past 30 years. Please give me a good reason why I would want SRT to make runs against us in this series.

  • Sniper on November 4, 2013, 23:17 GMT

    @ RealCricFan wrong and disgusting attitude

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