Preparing for his last outing at the iconic Eden Gardens, legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar was a picture of focus and concentration as the Indian team hit the nets Monday ahead of the all important Test match against the West Indies beginning Nov 6.
Tendulkar started off with some warm up exercises and subsequently rolled his arm over at the nets.
Bowling in tandem with spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha, Tendulkar dished out leg breaks and Murli Vijay had some difficulty negotiating the spin at the nets. He was beaten on a couple of occasions by Tendulkar's sharp turning deliveries.
After bowling for a few minutes, the little master padded up and chatted with coach Duncan Fletcher as he waited for his turn at the nets.
He first faced the pacers, displaying his watertight defence. While other batsmen at the adjacent nets missed or edged a few, Tendulkar looked at ease hitting his trademark drives.
He tackled the pacers for around 15 minutes before moving to the adjacent net where the spinners were on the job. He also asked Ojha ,who was bowling more at the stumps, to alter his line which the left arm obliged.
Tendulkar, who seems to have lost none of the zeal for batting despite spending a marathon 24 years in top flight cricket, was in his element against the spinners as he executed elegant drives and cuts much to the delight of a motley crowd of aspiring cricketers.
The batting legend knocked at the nets for another 20 minutes and then made way for the others, as he watched the youngsters practice at the nets.
After a brief rest and chat with team mates, Tendulkar moved to the far away net where local club bowlers were in action. He knocked a few balls and later gave a few tips to the youngsters.
Meanwhile, Fletcher was seen engaged in an animated chat with opener Shikhar Dhawan whose stint at the nets was uncomfortable as he continuously missed or edged. The coach was seen gesturing to Dhawan about ways to play the rising ball.
At the fag end of the practice, when the Indian players were busy in fielding drills, Dhawan spent some time discussing matters with Tendulkar.
Before moving out with his team mates, Tendulkar had a brief fielding session where he concentrated on some catching practice.
Earlier, on his arrival at the venue. Tendulkar was greeted by his wax replica placed at the entrance of the dressing room by the local staging body, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), which is leaving no stone unturned to make the master's swansong Eden outing for India memorable for him, the city, as also his countless admirers.
One hundred youngsters stood on both sides of the stretch from the main gate of the stadium upto the dressing room and formed a human chain when the Team India bus arrived and Tendulkar alighted from the vehicle.
Saluting 24 golden years of Tendulkar's international playing career, 24 confetti cannons burst spraying red paper on the cricketing genius.