An India-Pakistan match is surely the biggest draw at a venue like Eden Gardens. More so this time, because the iconic venue has completed 25 years since their first one-day international (in 1987) involving the neighbouring countries. And Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) is leaving no stone unturned to make January 3 — the date of the second ODI — special.
Among a host of other events, the state association will felicitate the two captains — Imran Khan and Kapil Dev — who tossed at the Eden on February 18, 1987. It may be recalled, despite Krishnamachari Srikkanth’s brilliant 123, India lost the match by two wickets thanks to Salim Malik’s hurricane 72 off 36 balls.
“We will felicitate both Imran and Kapil as they were the captains when the first India-Pakistan limited-overs game was staged here. Memories of that match are still fresh: It was played in front of one lakh spectators and it was a cracker of a contest,” CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey told MiD DAY.
Apart from Imran and Kapil, CAB is also inviting 10 former Pakistani captains to grace the occasion. The stars include Asif Iqbal, Javed Miandad, Zaheer Abbas and Wasim Akram. “It’s a goodwill gesture since bilateral series have been started again. We will take the former skippers around the Eden in a golf cart after the match. There will also be a brief function after the match followed by the felicitation ceremony,” Dey said.
The state association is expecting the Presidents of two countries — Pranab Mukherjee and Asif Ali Zardari — to witness the historic occasion. “President of India has already confirmed, but Mr Zardari hasn’t conveyed anything as yet. We are expecting a positive response,” Dey revealed.
It’s learnt that a silver coin will be released to mark the occasion in presence of the nation heads.