Eden Gardens prepares to say farewell to Sachin Tendulkar
Last Updated: 05/11/13 10:47pm
Sachin Tendulkar: Final Test series of his glittering career
India superstar Sachin Tendulkar begins the final Test series of his incredible career on Wednesday against the West Indies.
The first Test takes place at Eden Gardens, and the second in Tendulkar's beloved Mumbai next week, when India will all-but come to a standstill when the 'Little Master' bats.
Images of Tendulkar are everywhere in Kolkata as the city prepares to say farewell to their hero.
West Indies captain Darren Sammy says the team is "honoured" to be Tendulkar's last Test opponents, but insists they have come to win, not just pay homage to one of the game's greats.
"We're honoured to play a series in India which will bring curtains down on Sachin's career but we're here to compete and play very hard cricket," Sammy said. "He's a great ambassador for the sport. He deserves all the hype and the praises he's getting.
"For us, we will just look to block it out. At the end of the day, we're here to play cricket. Whatever happens in the media or the opponent's dressing room, it's about us doing what we know we have to do very well and go out there and compete for five days of exciting cricket."
India have not played Test cricket since March, and the selectors have some tricky decisions to make.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has been ruled out, which upsets the balance of the team. If they go with five bowlers, spinner Amit Mishra could play in his first Test in over two years. If they want six batsmen, Rohit Sharma - who smashed a brilliant double century in the ODI decider with Australia last week - could make his Test debut.
If he does, he would have played more ODIs - 108 - than any other player before being given his Test debut.
The focus is not entirely on Tendulkar. There is plenty of attention too for opener Shikhar Dhawan who stroked an incredible 187 on his Test debut against Australia in Mohali earlier this year, still his only Test match. Since then he has added four ODI centuries as he continues to take international cricket by storm.
The last time they toured India, in 2011, the Windies played just three frontline bowlers. This time they intend to go with two fast bowlers, Kemar Roach and Tino Best, plus two spinners - Shane Shillingford plus either Narsingh Deonarine or Veerasammy Permaul.
Sammy added: "Last time we were bowling against the likes of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Sachin and MS Dhoni. And we bowled them out three times. We are going to be confident and look to execute our plans and look to get 20 important wickets."