Wankhede's November 15 chronicles: Tendulkar's farewell in 2013, Kohli's 50th ODI century a decade later
Traversing the poignant tales of Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, the article recounts the farewell of Sachin Tendulkar in 2013 and Virat Kohli's historic 50th ODI century exactly a decade later on November 15, encapsulating the rich tapestry of Indian cricket.
In a poignant twist of fate, the hallowed grounds of Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium witnessed two historic events exactly a decade apart, encapsulating the rich tapestry of Indian cricket. On November 15, 2013, the cricketing world witnessed the legendary Sachin Tendulkar bat for the last time in his farewell Test match at the same venue. A decade later, on November 15, 2023, Virat Kohli etched his name in the annals of cricket history by surpassing Tendulkar's records, reaching the remarkable feat of 50 ODI centuries.
The juxtaposition of these two significant events symbolizes the seamless transition of cricketing greatness within the Indian team. As the crowd at Wankhede collectively shed tears in 2013, witnessing Tendulkar's emotional farewell, a new era unfolded on the same sacred turf in 2023 with Kohli's unprecedented achievement.
On Wednesday, Virat Kohli became the first batter in cricket history to achieve 50 ODI centuries, a feat that saw him surpassing his cricketing idol, Sachin Tendulkar, during the ODI World Cup 2023 semifinal against New Zealand. The Wankhede Stadium, steeped in cricketing history, bore witness to this remarkable milestone, with Tendulkar himself in attendance, adding an extra layer of emotion to the occasion.
As the cricketing world held its breath, Virat Kohli reached the historic landmark by expertly working Kiwi pacer Lockie Ferguson to square leg for a crucial double, elevating his score from 98 to 100. In a poignant and historic moment that reverberated across the cricketing landscape, Kohli's gesture of bowing down to 'God' Tendulkar after achieving his 50th ODI century is etched into the annals of Indian cricket as one of the most profound and respectful moments.
The sheer weight of the achievement was magnified by the fact that November 15 marked the last time Tendulkar batted in an international match for India, a Test against the West Indies at the same venue in 2013. The Wankhede Stadium, packed to the rafters, witnessed Tendulkar's final day of his illustrious international career as the Master Blaster scored 74 in his 200th Test. What's ironic is that Tendulkar was replaced by Virat Kohli who went on to score crucial 57 runs. Tendulkar's departure from the crease was met with a stunned silence, a stark contrast to the thunderous applause that followed Kohli's century a decade later.
November 16 was the last day of the Test, which saw India defeat West Indies by 126 runs. Tendulkar's Test career concluded with 15,921 runs, 51 centuries, and an average of 53.78 across 329 innings. The retirement marked the end of an era, leaving a void that was felt keenly by cricket enthusiasts around the world.
Following Virat Kohli's historic feat, Tendulkar penned a heartfelt congratulatory message, recalling his first meeting with Kohli in a funny yet nostalgic tone, and how some of the then teammates made the young cricketer touch his feet.
"The first time I met you in the Indian dressing room, you were pranked by other teammates into touching my feet. I couldn't stop laughing that day. But soon you touched my heart with your passion and skill. I am so happy that the young boy has grown into a 'Virat' player," Tendulkar said.
He added, "I could not be happier that an Indian broke my record, And to do it on the biggest stage – in the World Cup semi-final – and at my home ground is the icing on the cake."
Kohli also said going past Tendulkar was a dream come true for him. "Again, the great man just congratulated me. It feels like a dream. Too good to be true. It's the stuff of dreams. Sachin paaji was there in the stands. It's very difficult for me to express it. My life partner, my hero - he's sitting there. And all these fans at the Wankhede," said an emotional Kohli during the innings break.