Mumbai Ranji captain Zaheer Khan today said the team was experiencing mixed feelings ahead of Sachin Tendulkar's final domestic match and the players were lucky to have the veteran batsman for their season opener against Haryana starting here tomorrow.
"It is a special game for all of us. The atmosphere is very festive. Everyone is excited to be seeing Sachin in the Ranji Trophy for the last time. As a team we are lucky to have him here, everyone is excited that he is available for this game. In a way it is like his farewell game. It is emotional and exciting and there are mixed feelings in the camp. The emotion and the occasion will help everyone put in that extra bit to perform," said Zaheer.
"Sachin is enjoying the game as he was when he started. It is very evident. We are happy to have him around. The way preparations are going on, it's going to help him play those last two games (Tests against West Indies) as well," he added.
Tendulkar will be quitting international cricket after playing the two-Test series against the West Indies at Kolkata (November 6-10) and Mumbai (November 14-18).
Zaheer is leading the side in the absence of regular captain Rohit Sharma due to his commitments with the Indian team, which is currently playing against Australia in the seven-match ODI series.
Talking about his own form, the 35-year-old seasoned left-arm pacer said he was pleased with his match fitness.
"It's very important for me to get match fitness going. I am controlling the things I can control, making sure the routine is good and keeping things on track. It's important that you put in the hard work in training. It's just that sometimes you need a change, try new things and want to look at things differently. The idea behind doing that was completely different for me and I'm happy with the way things have gone," he said.
Zaheer, who visited France and South Africa for training programmes, knows the match is his last chance to show the national selectors that he is back ahead of the Test series against West Indies.