KOLKATA (TIP): Sachin Tendulkar will play his 200th Test match at home against the West Indies later this year. BCCI interim secretary Sanjay Patel confirmed on Sunday that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has agreed to tour India in November during which they are likely to play at least two Tests and five ODIs. The itinerary for the tour will be drawn up in consultation with the WICB, but in all likelihood the second Test will be played at the Wankhede Stadium. Assuming he figures in both Tests, Sachin would not only become the first player in cricket’s history to play 200 Tests, he would also get to achieve the landmark in Mumbai, his own backyard.
It could also be his farewell series as indications are that the Little Master is likely to announce his retirement from all forms of the game at the end of that series. BCCI’s tour and fixtures committee, which will meet shortly to finalise the dates and venues, is also likely to award the first Test to Kolkata. The proposed tour by the West Indies was sprung on the Working Committee members by BCCI’s president-inexile N Srinivasan and was passed unanimously, ostensibly to appease host broadcasters and sponsors. Under the Future Tours Programme (FTP), India are scheduled to host only a seven-match ODI series against Australia in October. Sachin, who recently started practising after undergoing surgery on his left palm, has confirmed his availability for the Champions League T20 where he will turn out for the Mumbai Indians. The peerless batsman has so far played 198 Tests, scoring 15,837 runs at an average of 53.86. He is also the only batsman in the world to log 100 centuries in international cricket, 51 of them coming in the longest (five-day) format. He had announced his retirement from ODIs late last year after having played 463 games in the course of his 24-year long career, amassing a record 18,426 runs, including 49 centuries at an average of 44.83.