Friday will be a big day at Wankhede as Sachin Tendulkar, 33 runs short of his 100th international century, will take to the crease to bat towards the much awaited milestone.
While skipper MS Dhoni before the Eden Test said that hype should not be built around Sachin's century, a thought echoed by most of his fans, it is not the first time that the veteran batsman will find expectant gaze on him when he walks to the middle. This, coming 18 years after he first came to bat in an international Test at this venue, against England in 1993.
Sachin scored 76 runs against the likes of Chris Lewis and Phil DeFreitas before being caught leg-before by spinner Phil Tufnell. Fast-forward to 2011, and the master-blaster will take strike on 67 with all the experience and fan-following that an international cricketer can ever hope to get.
Little surprise then that when Gautam Gambhir was dismissed by Ravi Rampaul on Thursday, a mighty roar swept through the stadium. Rampaul has played cricket long enough to know that it was less to do with his strike and more about the arrival of the next batsman.
While no player may be above the sport itself and no personal milestone bigger than the team, it is clear since the Lord's Test played earlier this year that Sachin's 100th international ton has a special meaning for cricket and cricket fans all over. It may be a personal milestone but is also a celebration of what cricketers are capable of. Prodigies are not born every day but class-batsmen like Sachin serve to inspire transitions from ordinary to extra-ordinary.
As Wankhede then, gets set to celebrate the possible milestone that the local boy may achieve come Friday, Sachin's milestones from his Test debut in 1989, over to his first Test here in 1993 and all the way until now, is already a journey of awe-inspiring success. The 100th ton can only be the crowning moment, nothing more.