Mumbai, Nov 14 IANS | 9 months ago

From Shivaji Park to Azad Maidan, it was play as usual at the cricket nurseries of Mumbai Thursday when legend Sachin Tendulkar took the field at the Wankhede Stadium for his farewell and 200th Test.


And Thursday being a holiday for Muharram, there was more than normal activity at these two famous cricket grounds of this 'Maximum City'.

While the talk of the ground was Tendulkar's retirement, the focus at maidan remained on cricket.

At Shivaji Park in Dadar, the very ground where Tendulkar grew up playing the gentleman's game, four matches were going on while the legend was being felicitated at the Wankhede Stadium before the start of the second Test against the West Indies.

Until two days ago, Kalpana Murkar was supervising, guiding and coaching aspiring cricketers on strips of the same Shivaji Park just like her father, Ramakant Achrekar - the famed guru of the more famous Sachin Tendulkar - was doing for decades.

Corporates were busy playing some competitive cricket on an off day. At one site, BMC are facing Nanavati while at another Nirlon are up against Union Bank of India (UBI). For some players, the eyes are firmly on the on-going match with earphones plugged in.

"Cricket can never stop at the Shivaji Park. It will go on, no matter who retires. Even Tendulkar will never want that cricket will stop for a single day at this ground," said Vishal Pathak, who was turning up for BMC.

For 41-year-old Rakesh Shah, who plays for UBI, the Shivaji Park reflects the spirit of the city.

"Life must go on. The regulars at Shivaji Park can only hope that the next Tendulkar will emerge from this ground," he said.

Similar scenes were witnessed at the Azad Maidan, a stone's throw from Wankhede, where kids gathered from early morning for their regular training session.

For Anil Pathak, 12, it was just another day. He wants to put in some extra hours at the nets on a holiday.

"We all are excited about Tendulkar's farewell, but we cannot miss our practice. I hope to get back home quickly and catch the match on TV," he said.

(Posted on 14-11-2013)