Cricket-crazy India is preparing to farewell its favourite son Sachin Tendulkar when he waslk out for one last time this week to play the game he's dominated for nearly a quarter of a century.
The 'Little Master' will end his 24-year career at the age of 40 when he plays his 200th test match, against the West Indies, on his home ground, starting later today.
Among the 32,000 present will be his wheelchair-bound mother Rajni, for whom Tendulkar has managed to get a ramp in Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium so she can watch her idolised son bat for the first time.
For the last time, the superstitious Tendulkar will put on his left pad first, and walk out to bat in India's colours, having long secured his place among the game's greats.
Despite overwhelming adulation from a country that has virtually deified him, Tendulkar's self-discipline and controversy-free image have made him a role model for India's burgeoning youth.
The website selling the meagre 5,000 tickets available for the public to attend the test crashed within minutes of opening on Monday under what it called "unprecedented pressure", with 19.7 million hits in the first hour.