West Indies captain Darren Sammy has said that his team is all set to play a party-pooper in Sachin Tendulkar's historic 200th and final Test at his home ground, Wankhede Stadium, next month. "We will look to get him out first ball," says Sammy.
West Indies are scheduled to play two Tests and three one-day internationals against India. The first Test at the Eden Gardens will start on November 6, followed by the Mumbai Test on November 14.
Two years ago, Sammy denied Tendulkar his 100th international century as he caught him on 94 runs at the same venue. The West Indies skipper aims for a repeat in Tendulkar's last appearance too.
"I have played enough cricket in India to know how the noise levels climb a few notches whenever Sachin Tendulkar enters the scene", Sammy said. (Getty Images)
"I have played enough cricket in India to know how the noise levels climb a few notches whenever Sachin Tendulkar enters the scene. And I know it's going to be crazier when he walks down the steps of the Wankhede Stadium in November, one last time. Not to forget the three innings before that. But I can assure you that every time Sachin walks out to bat in his final series, we will look to get him out first ball," Sammy told The Indian Express.
"This is not to say that we don't realise the magnitude of the event. This will be the last time the passionate Indian fans will get to see their biggest hero on a cricket ground.
"The atmosphere is going to be emotional and surreal but we are there as a proud team looking to win a Test match. And for that we need to take 20 wickets, including Tendulkar's. Plus, all my bowlers will be motivated to get him out. There's history at stake after all. All of them, including yours truly, will want to be the bowler who dismissed the great man for the last time. And there's going to be great competition among us. So we'll all come extra hard at him," Sammy said.
"Probably at the end of the day, we will sit down for a drink with him, and celebrate the 24 years he has spent amazing the cricket world. But there's no question of us dropping our guard and getting swayed by Tendulkar mania. As the captain of the West Indies, I am more focused on being competitive during the Test series and try and post a win in India", he added.
"We as a team have had a good run over the last 18 months in Test cricket and have climbed up the rankings. Our goal is clear when we reach India, which is to keep improving. Winning in India is never easy. This time, I am sure Sachin will be all over the place, and there will be a lot of off-field distractions we'll have to deal with. We'll do our bit to celebrate the legacy of Tendulkar, but once the match is underway, it'll just be an India vs West Indies Test match and not about one man. We will be pragmatic, and as captain, it will be my responsibility to keep my lads focused", the West Indies skipper said.
"I did get a taste of it when we toured here last time in 2011 and Tendulkar stood a few runs away from his 100th international century. The Wankhede was a cauldron. And it was me who hung onto that catch at slip off Ravi's [Rampaul] bowling to get rid of him for 94. It was a great moment as an opposition captain, even though I knew Darren Sammy probably lost a lot of friends that day across India. I spoiled what was shaping up to be a crazy party in Mumbai. But it has to be my greatest Sachin moment. I've seen him play so many incredible knocks on television but the time I foiled his 100th hundred will be my special moment. That wicket also set up a great finish", he added.
"Tendulkar has always been one of my heroes. You would want legends like him to keep playing forever, but unfortunately everyone has to move on. This will be the last time we'll see Sachin Tendulkar on a cricket field. I can't imagine how it must feel for anyone involved with Indian cricket, including the millions of fans around the world" Sammy said.