A 17-year-old Sachin Tendulkar made his first appearance at the iconic Eden Gardens on January 4, 1991, in the Asia Cup final, and curtains will be pulled down next week on this historic relationship when Tendulkar appears, 22 years later, for the penultimate Test of his career.
The Mumbaikar's relationship with Kolkata runs since his days in the P Sen Trophy playing club cricket for East Bengal. And since then, the bond grew stronger and stronger.
The last over against South Africa in the Hero Cup is still fresh in the memory of his fans, so is the walk along the boundary ropes in 1999, when he had to pacify the crowd agitated at his run out in the Test match against Pakistan.
In numbers, Kolkata is not a happy hunting ground for Tendulkar, who has scored just two hundreds and six fifties in 12 Tests there. He scored his first Test hundred at Eden after a wait of 11 years since his first appearance at the venue. It came in 2002 with his 176 against West Indies, which helped India draw the Test.
In total, Tendulkar has scored 862 runs from 12 Tests here at an average of 47.88. But the cynosure over the next five days won't be on Tendulkar's runs, but his last appearance at the Eden. Tickets are being madly sought not to watch runs off his bat but just to get a glimpse of him.
It's here. Kolkata waited, CAB prepared, and now it's about to occur.