The presence of Bangladesh Prime Minister Seikh Hasina, State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Union Home Minister Amit Shah along with the legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and VVS Laxman promises to make the opening day a star studded affair.
Preparations are on in full swing for the match against Bangladesh. The Cricket Association Of Bengal (CAB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is also leaving no stones unturned to make the Test match an event to remember.
The stadium is undergoing renovation, the order has been placed for pink balls, and hotels are being contacted to lodge guests invited for the event including former players from both countries. Hoardings across the city, bus branding, digital LED boards and fitouts is adding to the rising Mercury for tickets.
More so because Bangladesh are no pushovers these days and can put up a lip smacking contest under floodlights when a winnowing breeze and silent dew works it’s magic on the cherry making it swing in the air and seam off the pitch.
According to CAB secretary Avishek Dalmiya, Army paratroopers will fly into the Eden Gardens to hand over a pink ball each to the two captains just before the toss of the historic day-night match between India and Bangladesh beginning here on November 22.
“The paratroopers will fly into the wicket with two pink balls. We have discussed the plans with the Army (Eastern Command),” Dalmiya said.
An hour-long programme has also been planned in the evening in which sportspersons like Abhinav Bindra, Mary Kom will be felicitated.
“Felicitation of other sportsmen like Abhinav Bindra, Mary Kom will also be done in the evening. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will also be there. There also might be a speech by Sachin as well,” CAB Secretary said.
The CAB will also felicitate the team members of Bangladesh-India first-ever Test in 2000, a game where Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, made his debut as Test captain.
On Day 3 of the match, a special event will be held to commemorate India’s 171-run victory against Australia at the same venue in March 2001. Many of the top players who were part of the Indian team for that historic match have been invited to share their memories of it, including Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble, have been invited to share their memories of it.
“That victory transformed the Indian team into Team India. We need to revisit that,” said Dalmiya.
Kolkata is known for its passion for sports and it does not get bigger when Bengal’s very own Sourav Ganguly as the BCCI President scripts history at Eden Gardens.
Ganguly has been vocal about the importance of Test matches not losing relevance in face of it’s other versions and with this masterstroke of making Tests D/N he has not only revived and regenerated interest in purest form of the Gents’ Game, he has made it the focal point of all discussions.
Now back to the madness. It has been a long time since we have seen a sizable crowd before Eden Garden club house looking for tickets for Test matches. If you have some distant connection with Cricket Association of Bengal people either keeps your phone under siege for tickets or give you looks that make daggers look like wafers. Such is the madness that the tickets for the first three days are sold out.
“More than 50,000 people to witness India’s first Pink Ball D/N Test at Eden Gardens each day for first three days as demand for tickets shoots through the roof,” the Cricket Association of Bengal said in a tweet.
Giving a breakup, a CAB official said 50,000 tickets include about 17,000 were sold online, while the remaining were distributed among affiliated members.
CAB secretary Dalmiya said, play will start each day at 1 p.m., and by the time it resumes at 3.40 p.m. after lunch break at 3, the floodlights would have come on. After tea break at 5.40 p.m., the final session will stretch from 6 to 8 p.m.
The whole idea behind this day-night match is, after all, to get the spectator, who now finds the shorter formats of the game more engaging, interested in Tests once again. And the idea is credited to former captain Sourav Ganguly, a former CAB president and currently the BCCI chief.
“Sourav Ganguly recognises that people, in this day and age, may find it difficult to take five days of break from work, but they might return to the stadium if matches are held beyond office hours. So what you are going to see is a transformation of the good-old Test cricket to modern-day Test cricket,” Dalmiya added. (UNI)