IND vs BAN Day/Night Test: Fans paint walls as Kolkata lit up in pink!

Published: Nov 19, 2019, 08:37 IST | Arup Chatterjee | Kolkata

Fans paint walls with cricketers’ action shots, maidan clubs, parks and iconic buildings are lit up in pink prior to Friday’s day-night Test between India and Bangladesh at Eden Gardens

A cricket-themed mural painting on the wall of Eden Gardens
A cricket-themed mural painting on the wall of Eden Gardens

From medical college to the Metro, Kolkata has always counted its many ‘firsts’ with unabashed pride. Blame it on a hangover, but “historic” is a word that tugs at heartstrings here like nowhere else. The city’s obsession with such novelty is matched only by its sense of occasion.

Very few have understood or used this better than the Cricket Association of Bengal, which has time and again turned events into celebrations by getting the rest of the city on board. So, it’s the pink ball Test this time.

It was something that was surely coming, but it was CAB that was off the blocks first. And not least because its president, former India skipper Sourav Ganguly, has been one keen proponent of the day-night Test match. A seminar and a final under floodlights in July 2016, with live coverage by a leading sports channel, added another ‘first’ to Eden and Kolkata but, more importantly, it set the stage for bigger Tests with the pink ball. Once in the BCCI president’s chair, Ganguly wasted no time in convincing Virat Kohli & Co. to play ball. It’s just as well that the touring team was Bangladesh, whose cricket board has traditionally had close ties with CAB.

Fans queue up to purchase tickets for the upcoming D/N test. Pics/ AFP, PTI

Fans queue up to purchase tickets for the upcoming D/N test. Pics/ AFP, PTI

Putting together a ‘who’s who’ list of invitees, including Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, creating cuddly mascots and painting the city pink with billboards and balloons, the CAB has managed to again catch the imagination of this cricket crazy city. Fans are painting walls with action shots of their heroes in action, maidan clubs have dressed in a shower of pink lights while launches ferrying passengers across the Hooghly are casting their shimmering reflections in the water. Parks and iconic buildings too are lit up in pink.

Amidst all the hype, the mismatch between India and Bangladesh, heightened by the hopelessly one-sided contest of a few days ago, has all but been lost. If the demand for tickets seems out of cinch, blame it on that common urge to be a “part of history”. The visitors are expected to enjoy more support with fans trooping from across the border. Among those in the club house will be members of the team that turned out for their debut Test in 2000. Ganguly was India’s skipper on that occasion.

The pink ball, this time of the SG make, has presented problems during the crossover period and both teams will want to work out during twilight to make sure sighting doesn’t escalate to a big issue. The sideshows can continue, and red give way to pink, but beleaguered Bangladesh have the onerous task of passing the real Test.

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