BMWs and Mercedes' are not uncommon in prosperous Haryana. But the BMW that checked in to the Canal river rest house in Rohtak, Haryana was special. The car had none other that Sachin Tendulkar, who arrived on Friday evening to play his final Ranji Trophy match for Mumbai vs Haryana in the sleepy town of Lahli.
Along with Sachin, skipper Zaheer Khan and Abhishek Nayar are staying in the ten-room rest house. Tendulkar is staying in the VIP suite that is normally reserved for the chief minister of the state.
Tendulkar is using the Lahli match as a warm-up game before the two-Test series against the West Indies next month. The 40-year-old will retire from Test cricket after his 200th match scheduled at Wankhede from November 14-18. Meanwhile Lahli, which is about 10 kms from Rohtak is essentially a town for budding wrestlers but Tendulkar's arrival is changing the local flavour as fans and sweet shops plan a big party. The Chaudhary Bansi Lal Stadium is getting a complete makeover ahead of the 40-year-olds arrival. Along with a complete repainting job, the gymnasium at the stadium has been refurbished with new equipment.
This will be Tendulkar's final Ranji Trophy match for defending champions Mumbai. Tendulkar has trained with the team for the last four days at the Wankhede Stadium and looks to be in great shape, according to teammates. Tendulkar has played 37 Ranji matches for Mumbai after making his debut against Gujarat in December 1988. His last match was the Ranji Trophy final at the Wankhede Stadium against Saurashtra in January this year.
The match will also see a 'reunion' of sorts. Tendulkar will run into former Team India middle-order batsman Ajay Jadeja. Now on the wrong side of forty, Jadeja is making a domestic comeback for Haryana. The witty Jadeja had lead Haryana to the Buchi Babu title earlier this year.