Kolkata, Nov 23:
Former captains including Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Kapil Dev were on Friday felicitated in a grand ceremony following day one of the historic day-nigt Test between India and Bangladesh.
Tendulkar, Dev, Dravid, Chandu Borde and current head coach Ravi Shastri were among the ones felicitated. Earlier in the day, they lauded the work done by BCCI president and former captain Sourav Ganguly to make day-night Test a reality in India.
“If you get these kind of numbers coming into the game, there is definitely a future (for day-night Tests). It is great to see tat. Incredible atmosphere. This is something we were use to when we started out in Test cricket,” said Dravid, referring to the packed Eden Gardens.
The Cricket Association of Bengal had also invited Bangladesh players who were part of their team’s first Test back in 2000, which too was played against India.
The players present from the neighbouring country included their first Test captain Naimur Rahman, Mohammed Mahmudul Hasan, Maharab Hossain, Mohammed Hasibul Hussain, Shahriar Hossain Biddut, Kazi Habibul Bashar and Mohammed Akram Khan.
Former Indian cricketers in attendance also included Sadagopan Ramesh, Saba Karim, Sunil Joshi, Ajit Agarkar, Venkatesh Prasad, Dilip Vengsarkar, Mohammed Azharuddin, K Srikkanth and Farokh Engineer.
After being reluctant for four years, India finally embraced the Day/Night format for Test cricket, following a strong push from Ganguly.
The cricketers also took a round of the iconic venue on a golf cart.
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly on Friday thanked the fans at Eden Gardens in a felicitation ceremony that was held at the end of the first day”s play in the first ever day-night Test involving India.
The iconic stadium was packed to the rafters for the second Test between India and Bangladesh and a number of famous personalities ranging from former cricketers, athletes from other sports and politicians were present on the occasion.
“What we saw today at Eden Gardens is a huge step forward for Test cricket,” Ganguly said in his speech.
“It’s you — all the people in this stadium — who make cricket such a popular game. We at the BCCI and the CAB (Cricket Association of Bengal) thank you whole-heartedly for turning out in huge numbers for the first ever pink ball Test match in Kolkata.
“Hopefully we will continue to see all of you turning up in Test matches, not just in Kolkata but throughout the country,” he said.
Among those present on the dias with Ganguly were his former India teammate Sachin Tendulkar, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and several dignitaries from the BCCI and the CAB.
Athletes from sports other than cricket present on the occasion included tennis star Sania Mirza, reigning badminton world champion P.V. Sindhu, boxing great M.C. Mary Kom, all of whom were felicitated after Ganguly made his speech.
Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir, who is part of Star Sports” commentary team, said, “Today the respect for BCCI increases a lot because you are supporting and inspiring athletes from other sports by felicitating them.”
Apart from Gambhir, Tendulkar and Ganguly himself, former captain and National Cricket Academy chief Rahul Dravid was also present on the occasion along with Anil Kumble, Sunil Gavaskar, Harbhajan Singh and V.V.S. Laxman, who are all doing commentary for the match.