NEW DELHI: India’s series opener against West Indies at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera on Sunday will be the hosts 1000th one-day international overall. India in fact will become the first cricket playing nation to play 1000 ODIs.

And on this occasion, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, who played a stupendous 463 ODIs for India, congratulated the country’s cricket fraternity.

Tendulkar, who had been part of India’s 200th, 300th, 400th, 500th, 600th, 700th, and 800th ODIs, said, “India playing their 1000th ODI is a huge milestone. The first ODI was played in 1974 and now in 2022 we are playing the 1000th ODI.”

When the Indian men’s team faced England in their first-ever ODI at Headingley, Leeds on July 13, 1974, no one really would have expected India to become the first nation to reach the milestone of playing 1000 ODIs.

It (the 1000th ODI) was only possible because of the past cricketers, the current cricketers, the past board members, the current board members and not to forget the most important people – our Indian cricket team’s well-wishers – from the past generations and even the ones who are today with us and the ones who are going to continue being with us, I would want to say that it is an achievement for all of us,” Tendulkar added.

From Tendulkar’s debut till his retirement, India played 638 matches. Incredibly it was India’s 166th match when Tendulkar made his debut against Pakistan in 1989 and the Little Master announced his ODI retirement after the 804th ODI India played in 2012 – also against Pakistan.

Continuing his effusive praise, Tendulkar said, “The entire nation should be proud of this and hope Indian cricket continues to go from strength to strength. I know we’ll be playing on the 6th of February against the West Indies in Ahmedabad, I want to wish them all the very best for the coming series and especially for the 1000th ODI. Good luck.”

Since the inception of ODIs in 1974, out of all the ODIs played by Team India, Tendulkar has been part of a whopping 57.58%, whereas in terms of the ODIs played during his career, he featured in 72.57% of the matches, which reflects his unparalleled contribution during this tremendous journey of the Indian cricket team.

When asked to pick one top ODI knock from his glittering career, Tendulkar said, “I would say the first 200 in ODI that was scored, which I got against South Africa, that would be one of the landmarks, because the bowling attack was also good and it was a very good opposition, it happened in ODI history (men’s cricket) for the first time, so it has its own relevance. So I would say that my double hundred against South Africa would be one of the important knocks in ODI cricket for me.”

Sachin Tendulkar, on National Sports Day, tweeted a video where he took some time out from a shooting stint to play cricket with the crew members, giving them a special moment to cherish. The experience for the crew members became even more special when Bollywood stars Varun Dhawan and Abhishek Bachchan also joined in. This was a surprise not only for the crew members but also Sachin Tendulkar who greeted both the stars warmly. “It’s always good to mix work with play. Had a lot of fun playing cricket with the crew during a shoot & was pleasantly surprised with @Varun_dvn dropping by along with @juniorbachchan who joined us for some time. #SportPlayingNation #FitIndiaMovement,” Tendulkar tweeted.

As the video progressed, Sachin is seen gently asking Varun, “We are planning to play cricket, are you keen to join”, to which the Judwaa 2 star agreed instantly.

The game started with Sachin taking the strike and Varun bowling. After that Abhishek Bachchan also bowled a couple of deliveries to the Master Blaster. When a ball bounced awkwardly, Tendulkar jokingly said, “it’s a dangerous wicket”.

After completing his batting, Sachin hands the ball to a budding cricketer Jeeya and encourages her with his motivating words.

Varun Dhawan who had a lot of fun during the match expressed this by replying to Sachin’s tweet. Varun also praised the Sachin for his wonderful initiative.

“#SportPlayingNation what a brilliant initiative this is sir. Had a lot of fun running into you that day sir,” Varun replied.

Sachin Tendulkar, the world’s most successful batsman in terms of number of runs scored, retired from international cricket in 2013. He is the only cricketer who has 100 international centuries to his name. He also holds the world record of playing 200 Test matches.

In the game of cricket, we have seen many cricketers scoring a century at least once in their career. However, we have not heard of a cricketer completing his century in his age. Yes, you read it right. The former first-class player identified as Vasant Raiji, the oldest living cricketer in celebrated his 100th birthday.

Basant Raiji was born on January 26, 1920, and it was really glad to see the oldest living cricketer in India celebrating his special occasion with legendary cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Steve Waugh. Both the legends marked their presence and cut the birthday cake with Raiji at his residence.

“Wishing you a very special 100th birthday, Shri Vasant Raiji,” former India batting great Sachin Tendulkar tweeted as a caption. “Steve & I had a wonderful time listening to some amazing cricket stories about the past. Thank you for passing on a treasure trove of memories about our beloved sport.”

Raiji featured in nine first-class matches in his decade long career. He has scored 277 runs at an average of 23. He was a specialist right-handed batsman. He made his debut for the Cricket Club of (CCI) and played against the likes of Central Provinces and Berar in Nagpur in 1939.

He made his debut for Bombay in 1941 under the great Vijay Merchant’s captaincy. He also shared the dressing room with other legendary figures like Lala Amarnath, CK Nayudu and Vijay Hazare.

Post his retirement, Raiji joined his family business of chartered accountancy. His love for the game never declined as he went on to write books on cricketers like Victor Trumper, CK Nayudu, and LP Jai.

Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sunil Gavaskar, P.V. Sindhu along with other stars of Indian sports will attend the historic pink-ball Test match in Kolkata.

Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev attend India’s first-ever day-night Test match against Bangladesh starting November 22 in Kolkata on Friday.

The iconic Eden Gardens is all set to witness a musical extravaganza in the presence of former cricketers, celebrities and politicians during India and Bangladesh’s first-ever pink ball Test.

The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) also plans to felicitate sporting stars, including Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, Sania Mirza, P.V. Sindhu and six-time boxing world champion M.C. Mary Kom among others.

According to BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, the second Test of the two-match series will be one to remember.

“Sachin (Tendulkar), (Sunil) Gavaskar, Kapil (Dev), Rahul (Dravid), Anil (Kumble) everyone will be there. In tea time, there will be carts going around the stadium with former captains in them,” Ganguly said here on Wednesday.

“There is a musical performance at tea time and at the end of the day there is a felicitation. Both the teams, former captains, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Chief Minister will be there.

“Runa Laila will be performing, Jeet Ganguly will be performing. I am very excited. Just see the excitement, four days are already sold out in a Test match,” he added.

Asked whether after the Eden Test, India will play a day-night Test in its upcoming tour to Australia in January next year, Ganguly replied: “We will see.”

The CAB and BCCI have put in place several plans to mark India’s maiden pink ball Test.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to ring the ‘Eden Bell’ along with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the first day of the match.

Besides, a host of sporting starts, including star shuttler P V Sindhu, chess ace Viswanathan Anand and tennis sensation Sania Mirza are expected to grace the occasion.

As per plans, paratroopers are expected to fly into Eden to hand a pink ball each to captains Virat Kohli and Mominul Haque just before the toss.

The CAB has also organised a talk show featuring the ‘Fabulous Five’ of Indian cricket — Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and V. V. S Laxman during the 40-minute dinner break. They will talk about the historic 2001 Test win against Australia at the Eden.