Kolkata, Jan 28: India's batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who had his fair share of success both with the bat and the ball in Kolkata, said the city and its cricket lovers welcomed him with great memories whenever he came to play.
"So many memories when it comes to Kolkata," said an emotional Tendulkar at a press conference to announce the IDBI Federal Life Insurance Marathon.
The former India captain said during his initial days in the city as a cricketer, he was overwhelmed by the city's passion for the game.
Taking a trip down memory lane, Tendulkar talked about the match versus South Africa at the Eden Gardens in 1991 where the reception by the cricket fans in the city was "incredible".
"The first big moment was when we played South Africa here. South Africa was getting back to international cricket and the kind of reception they got was incredible. It was not just inside the stadium but from when they landed. From the airport all the way to the hotel, there were people standing on both sides of the road and cheering them. Even today some of their players like Jonty Rhodes still remember the reception they got in Kolkata," he said.
"Also what a spectacular match we had. It was a low scoring game where Allan Donald came and bowled a fiery spell. But there were some good partnerships and we ended up winning the game. All along the experience was overwhelming for the South Africans and so was the case with me," the former captain, who scored a precious 62 runs under pressure in that match, said.
Praising the spectators at the Eden Gardens for their spirit and support, Tendulkar said, "We also used to jokingly say in Kolkata, we just need to take two wickets the crowd will take the rest eight."
He also talked about the iconic Hero Cup semi-finals in the city in 1993 where his incredible last over with the ball tilted the match in India's favour.
"Another thing which was memorable and completely different was the first day and night match here. It was the semi-finals of Hero Cup with the South Africans again and I ended up bowling the last over. That experience to see the crowd in the entire stadium lit by torches was my first time. The Kolkata crowd is always known for the passion," he added.