A Visit To Eden Gardens
The game of cricket finds a new dimension when it is played on certain hallowed turfs. Lord’s the Mecca of cricket, brings a traditional orthodox ambience. The long room and the member’s area at the pavilion end still triggers nostalgia.
A Wally Hammond or Douglus Jardine seems to be walking out of the dressing room. An appreciation is conveyed not with a huge roar, but a gentle hand clap.
Melbourne on the other hand, where the first test match of the history was played, epitomises the unorthodox modern brand of cricket with its state of the art structure. It’s like Lords’ classic music turning into hard rock. Melbourne means hi-tech high octane game. The crowd and the cricketers soak in the atmosphere when a match is played in these venues.
Eden Gardens is in the same league with Lord’s and Melbourne. In 1975 England needed just 15 odd runs to win the match on the last day of the test. England captain late Tony Greig said, “I was amazed to see some 75 thousand crowd in the stadium. They turned up to see their country lose by 10 wickets. Just imagine how crazy they are about the game.” Eden Gardens and its crowd are synonymous.
Named after the Eden sisters of the then Governor General of England, Lord Auckland, this ground was built in 1864. The stadium once had a capacity of 90 thousand spectators. The number of seats has come down to 65 thousand to ensure more crowd comfort. In the same vein there has been many a changes in every nook and corner of the stadium. The bell, new score boards, the corporate boxes, naming the stands after former cricketers and the new indoor practice area are some of them.
However, for such an iconic venue there is no museum to showcase its history and past memorabilia’s. There’s no dedicated enclosure for the former cricketers of the country and state team. There’s space constraint all over the stadium. You’ll hardly find any freewheeling area. However, the overall features of the ground far overweigh its shortcomings. Under lights when the 65 thousand spectators start a Mexican wave, it is a real joy to behold – from the eyes of cricketers or anyone watching it.
In this episode I try to provide some information and footage on some of the heritage points of the stadium.