Tendulkar's wife pays rare visit

Tendulkar’s wife Anjali exchanges pleasantries with VVS Laxman during India’s practice on Sunday. APTendulkar’s wife Anjali exchanges pleasantries with VVS Laxman during India’s practice on Sunday. AP

There was little on Sachin Tendulkar’s face to suggest that this was a day out of the ordinary. He went through the pre-training routine and the fielding and catching drills at the Sardar Patel Gujarat stadium on Sunday morning with customary focus and enthusiasm, so much so that the uninformed would hardly have guessed this was a special day.

The buzz, however, started a little before Tendulkar arrived at the practice ‘nets’ just outside the stadium. A small entourage was swept away by a protective ring of policemen to the far end of the practice facilities, with Anjali Tendulkar leading the close, closed group.
Tendulkar’s wife is by no means a regular feature at his matches, and most certainly not at a practice session. Sunday was perhaps the first time she watched her illustrious, celebrated husband honing his skills at nets on the eve of a Test match, indicative of how much significance November 15, 2009 holds in the Tendulkars’ lives.

Sunday marked the completion of 20 years in international cricket of Indian cricket’s most glorious son, and Anjali’s presence in front of prying media eyes – a huge compromise by a family fiercely protective of its privacy – must have made it that much more special for Tendulkar who, typically, didn’t allow his monk-like concentration to be affected one bit.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni refused to let on if the team would celebrate the moment – ‘If there is a celebration, it will be confined to the team’ – though he spoke of what has to be a monumental accomplishment with genuine feeling. “It can’t get better than this,” Dhoni said. “We are playing Test cricket after a really long time and Sachin is completing 20 years in Test cricket. His passion and the way he has played, the way he has conducted himself… He has been a real role model for the past 20 years. I am honoured to share the dressing room with him. Not even in my wildest dreams did I think I would be playing with him, so it is an honour for me. Hopefully, he scores a century, gets a big score.”

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