KOLKATA: Even as the City of Joy celebrates the hosting of an India-Pakistan encounter on Saturday in the ICC World T20, the clash of the arch-rivals at the historic Eden Gardens evokes sad memories for former India opener and East Zone selector Pankaj Roy.
“My most prominent memory of an India-Pakistan match at the Eden is the 1999 Test, where Sachin Tendulkar collided with Shoaib Akhtar and was controversially run-out in the second innings with India chasing 279 for victory with two days to go. The crowd was furious and a mini riot ensued. The next day India lost a few more wickets and the crowd erupted leading to the security staff clearing out the 65,000-strong crowd from the stands. The remainder of the match was played in front of an empty house and Pakistan won by 47 runs,” recalled Roy yesterday.
However, times have changed and MS Dhoni’s Indians are in top form this time round with their recent defeat to New Zealand being considered an aberration. And Roy is hopeful his sad memory of an Indo-Pak Eden clash is converted to a happy one, come Saturday. “For me, history has no significance when it comes to match predictions. I know that India hold a very poor record against Pakistan here – I think they’ve won just one match from 11 encounters, Tests and ODIs included (India @ Eden Gardens: played 11, won 1, lost 5, drawn 5). But for me, it’s all about playing well on that day. I believe India can beat this Pakistan team on Saturday, backed by some very emotional Eden Gardens supporters,” added Roy.