Kolkata: Despite the hype around him, Sachin Tendulkar appeared calm as the senior most Indian batsman walked out for his first practice session ahead of his 199th Test at the Eden Gardens, here today.
There was nothing special about the way he went about his routine nets session as he batted for exactly 52 minutes.
Showered with confetti and flower petals as he checked into the Eden Gardens at 10.30 this morning, Tendulkar went to the field and had a long discussion with coach Duncan Fletcher.
All padded up, Tendulkar waited patiently for his turn as Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan batted in the two nets meant for pacers and spinners.
Tendulkar`s turn finally came as he batted for about 10 minutes in the pace bowling net with India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav forming the attack, apart from the local bowlers.
In the adjoining net, Tendulkar batted a little longer against the spinners that comprised of Pragyan Ojha, Ravichandran Ashwin and Vijay.
He had a glimpse of the wicket while going to another net for throwdowns.
Tendulkar ended the session with catching practice from the far end.
Another highlight of the two and half hour practice was coach Fletcher and Dhawan`s session that lasted for more than half an hour.
It seemed Fletcher was speaking about the nuances of batting as Dhawan was all ears.
Earlier, a five-feet four-inch statue of Tendulkar greeted the 40-year-old batsman while the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) rolled out a grand welcome when he disembarked from the team bus.
Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden`s quote on Tendulkar -- `I`ve seen God. He comes out to bat for India at No 4.` -- was displayed prominently right above the India dressing room door while the wax statue was installed next to the door.
The statue may not have the finesse of a Madame Tussauds but Tendulkar came and stood near it after his practice session.