Kolkata: An entire city is playing host to a maverick cricketer as Sachin Tendulkar readies himself for his 199th Test, starting from November 6 against West Indies. All the highlights from India's net session at the Eden Gardens:
* There is a photo exhibition at 5 PM. An exhibition of 100 Tendulkar photos will be unveiled. The CAB had invited former Test captains Sunil Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly to inaugurate this at Bhawanipore Club, but both are in Colombo on a charity walk. It is not sure whether Tendulkar will be at the exhibition.
*The Indian team concludes its training session here. The session lasted close to two hours with the primary focus on Sachin Tendulkar. The West Indies team will arrive here later in the afternoon for their net session.
* Tendulkar batted for almost an hour, spread over two sessions. Ishant Sharma bowled a long spell to him. The Indians are training on the a set of wickets adjacent to the main track.
Tendulkar also bowled to his teammates. He has fond memories of Eden as a bowler. In the 1993 Hero Cup semifinal vs South Africa, Tendulkar bowled the last over to script a thrilling win for India.
* Hundreds of fans have turned up at Eden Gardens but the security is tight. The fans have been kept at arm's length. The media frenzy is just amazing but everyone has been moved to the first tier of the Club House so that the players are not disturbed during training.
* Tendulkar was also greeted by a gallery of photographs capturing his many moments at Eden Gardens. Prominent among them were his photos with Sourav Ganguly and Brett Lee. A wax statue has been erected by the Cricket Association of Bengal officials just outside the dressing room entrance. Sachin himself seemed quite cool despite all the adulation; he seemed to be more focussed on the training.
* The Indian team has arrived to train at the Eden Gardens. Flower petals were showered on Sachin as he made his way into the magnificent venue from the Dr B.C. Roy Club House. It was like a marriage ceremony where the couple is showered with petals by a machine from the top!
* Such is the mood in Kolkata for Sachin's 199th Test match that even Diwali celebrations may have faded a bit owing to the sheer splendour of the impending milestone. "There is no Diwali festival. This is Sachin festival," Biswarup Dey, a CAB official, was quoted as saying by media reports. In fact, a music album with four Hindi songs on Sachin was released here on Sunday. A photo exhibition on the cricketer will be unveiled today. During the Test, it is learnt, each seat will have a placard which when held up together, will form a huge and dramatic Sachin face!
* Sachin arrived to a raptrous welcome at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Airport on Sunday.
*The frenzy surrounding Sachin's final two Test matches has reached peak levels. At the Eden Gardens, a packed house is expected to cheer his penultimate innings in international cricket (Read). Such is the mammoth proportion of the event that according to one report, Kolkata police have demanded a seven-time higher amount than previous occasions to provide security during the Test (Read).
* CAB has been promising a grand farewell to Sachin - who will move to Mumbai for his final Test after playing here - and have gone the extra distance to make the event memorable. A tableaux showcasing highlights of his career has been making rounds of the city.
* The 40-year-old is expected to join members of the Indian team who will train at the Eden Gardens from 10am to 1pm today. According to reports, flower petals will be showered on him when he comes out to practice.
* Sachin Tendulkar arrived in Kolkata on Sunday for his 199th Test. The veteran batsman - who will retire after playing his 200th Test - was welcomed at the airport by Cricket Association of Bengal officials and scores of die-hard fans. He was greeted with 199 roses - symbolic of his unparalleled achievements in international cricket. (Read more here).