The mood in the camp of 40-time Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai, ahead of their tournament opener in Haryana at Lahli, is poignant with the impending retirement of Sachin Tendulkar.
"It is an emotional mood in the dressing room. We are very much looking forward to that (Ranji opener from October 27 at Lahli). It's a great opportunity for everybody and not just the players, to be with Sachin," said Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni after the team's practice session today.
The iconic batsman will be quitting international cricket after playing the two-Test series against the West Indies at Kolkata (November 6-10) and here (November 14-18).
Former Mumbai keeper Sulakshan remembered the times when he and Tendulkar were teammates when the latter made his first class debut against Gujarat at the Wankhede Stadium.
"As far as I am concerned, I was there with him for his first first-class match and (will be there as coach in) this match also," he said.
In the absence of regular captain Rohit Sharma due to his commitments with the Indian team, which is currently playing against Australia, Zaheer Khan would lead the side against Haryana.
Kulkarni said the 35-year-old seasoned left-arm pacer has had long bowling stints with good rhythm at the nets.
"He (Zaheer) has played 2-3 games for India A (against the touring West Indies A). He was in good touch and good rhythm. It is a long season ahead. He was very impressive in the nets. He bowled his heart out. He bowled a long spell and looked in good shape," Kulkarni said.
"It is a big match and the season opener. We are looking forward to a good game. Hopefully, we will come out with flying colours against Haryana. We are playing for the first time at Lahli. I don't know where the place is. Definitely, we will put up a good show," the coach added.
Asked if young batsman Siddhesh Lad would make his debut, Kulkarni said, "I don't know. He is very promising. He has done well in local cricket. Last year also he played Deodhar Trophy and against Saurashtra I think, he scored a hundred on his debut. But four-day cricket is different."