Kolkata: Seven years after the International Cricket Council (ICC) gave its approval to the format, India is taking on Bangladesh in its first-ever pink-ball Test match today. And needless to say, the host city, Kolkata has turned into pink and is buzzing with activities like never before.
Leaving no stone unturned, the hosts association, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has arranged for a grand spectacle at the Eden Gardens to make this occasion extra special. Iconic destinations of the city, buildings and boats are all coloured in pink and a host of celebrities, including sports stars are expected to be in attendance for the historic occasion.
Today, ahead of the start of play, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee kicked off the match by ringing the Eden bell in the presence of Sourav Ganguly. Union Home Minister Amit Shah who was also expected to be present at the event, won’t be in attendance as per the final programme list sent by the CAB.
As it is a cricket event, the venue is brimming with cricket icons and stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Saba Karim, Sunil Joshi, Ajit Agarkar, Venkatesh Prasad, Kapil Dev, Dilip Vengsarkar, Mohammed Azharuddin, Kris Srikkanth, Farook Engineer and Chandu Borde.
Besides, a host of sporting starts, including star shuttler P V Sindhu, chess ace Viswanathan Anand, boxing star Mary Kom and tennis sensation Sania Mirza too, will adorn the Test on various days.
Naimur Rahman, Mohammed Mahmudul Hasan, Maharab Hossain, Mohammed Hasibul Hussain, Shahriar Hossain Biddut, Kazi Habibul Bashar and Mohammed Akram Khan are the former Bangaldesh cricketers who have confirmed their presence.
The CAB has also organised a talk show featuring the ‘Fabulous Five’ of Indian cricket — Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and V V S Laxman during the 40-minute dinner break where they will talk about the historic 2001 Test win against Australia at the Eden.
There are also plans to felicitate sporting stars, including Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, Sania Mirza, Sindhu and six-time boxing world champion MC Mary Kom among others.
The grand felicitation will happen post-match with a performance by Runa Laila, while a cultural programme by Jeet Ganguly will conclude the opening day.