Lahli in frenzy as Sachin Tendulkar touches down
It will be a precursor to the final bow as the retiring Sachin Tendulkar pads up one last time for Mumbai in a Ranji Trophy match against Haryana
amid heightened excitement that has turned this sleepy village of wrestlers into a cricket-crazy arena.
The defending champions' match against the hosts assumes significance as this will be the champion batsman's final competitive outing ahead of next month's Test series against the West Indies, which will culminate with the second game in Mumbai, where Tendulkar will bring the curtain down on a glorious 24-year tryst with international cricket.
In 1991 Tendulkar bludgeoned his way to a smashing knock
Tendulkar had, earlier this month, announced that he would call it a day after playing in his landmark 200th Test, against the West Indies from November 14-18.
Incidentally, in a Ranji final against Haryana in 1991, an 18-year-old Tendulkar bludgeoned his way to a smashing knock and threatened to take the game away from Kapil Dev's side.
Twenty-two years later, Tendulkar, now 40, is the lone surviving member apart from former Team India opener Ajay Jadeja from the teams that played the five-day final at the Wankhede Stadium.
Cut to October, 2013, locals here are as geared up as the players themselves to be part of the match, scheduled to take place at the Chaudhury Bansi Lal Stadium in Lahli, around 15km from Rohtak.
Tendulkar will play against former India teammate Jadeja
Tendulkar had trained with the team for the last four days at the Wankhede Stadium and was learnt to be in great shape.
Normally a quiet town, the place went into a state of frenzy after it emerged that Tendulkar would be playing here to warm up for the two Test matches in Kolkata and at his beloved home ground at the Wankhede.
The match will also be a 'reunion' of sorts as Tendulkar will play against former India teammate Jadeja.
The 42-year-old Jadeja is making a domestic comeback for Haryana, and had led the state side to the Buchi Babu title earlier this year.