The Mumbai Indians (MI) players were buoyed by the presence of Sachin Tendulkar, who joined the team's training session here on Tuesday as the high-profile franchise starts its Indian Premier League title defence against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday. The MI players were overjoyed as Tendulkar, who reached here late Monday night, came in the team's practise outfit at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Having retired from all forms of the game after the Test series against West Indies ended on November 16 last year, Tendulkar seemed to be itching to have a hit in the nets. Mumbai Indians named Tendulkar as their "icon" recently and he will also do his bit to promote the franchise's cause of "Education for All".
The legend padded up and had a half-an hour session at the nets. He also did his customary knocking facing throwdowns from a member of the support staff. "It was a lesson for the youngsters in the manner Sachin went about his drills. If someone thought that he wanted to hit a few balls for fun, they were mistaken. His drills were just like it used to be before a match," an MI source told PTI on Tuesday. (Also read: Jonty Rhodes impressed by outstanding fielding efforts)
Tendulkar also keenly watched skipper Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and others at the net session and was seen talking to chief coach John Wright. The retired legend will be a part of the team's think-tank where in he will be providing inputs to coach Wright and skipper Sharma on team combination and strategies. (Read: Laundry service to clean IPL? Dhoni's 'wishy-washy' solution)
The iconic cricketer had said a few days earlier about how he would want to contribute with his expertise as Mumbai Indians aim to do an encore like Chennai Super Kings did in 2010, 2011 editions of the cash-rich Twenty20 league. "I have been a part of the Mumbai Indians team since its inception and am delighted to continue my association. This season with Mumbai Indians will be a different experience for me and I look forward to closely interacting with the experienced support staff and sharing my learnings with the exciting youngsters in the team," he was quoted as saying earlier this week.