Sachin Tendulkar: A passage through Eden Gardens
Sachin Tendulkar is the third most successful batsman at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata with a total of 862 runs in 12 Tests at an average of 47.88. VVS Laxman (1217) and Rahul Dravid (962) have more runs than Sachin at this venue.
For the man who has scored more runs than anyone else in the world, Kolkata's Eden Gardens hasn't exactly been a happy hunting ground. However, that's just by the Sachin Tendulkar's standards. The Master Blaster's record at Eden is actually better than many other former Indian Test batsmen like Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Mohammad Azharuddin and Kolkata's cricket son Sourav Ganguly.
He may not have set Eden Gardens on fire, but one of Sachin's two Test hundred in the City of Joy came against the same side he will play in the penultimate match of his career, West Indies. In 2002, Sachin made 176 in the 2nd innings of the Kolkata Test, and went on to save the match for India, helping India claim a 2-0 series win.
Sachin's only other Test hundred at the Eden came in 2010 against South Africa. Trailing the two-match series 1-0, it was Sachin's 249-run partnership with Sehwag, and a total of eight wickets in the match from Harbhajan Singh helped India win the match and level the series 1-1.
VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid are in fact the only two batsmen who have more Test runs than Sachin in Kolkata. In the 12 Tests he has played at Eden, Sachin has 862 runs, at an average that's close to fifty. In ODIs as well, he averages almost 50, and tops the list of run-getters with 496 runs in 13 ODIs.
The last time Sachin played West Indies in a Test match in Kolkata was in 2011. This was the time when everyone was waiting for the 100th hundred. And spinner Devendra Bishoo made sure it didn't happen on that occasion. This occasion is of course very different from that one. And while reports suggest the Little Master isn't too pleased with Kolkata's over-the-top preparations, Sachin knows all too well that it's the City of Joy showing its love for him, for one last time.