All roads in the ‘City of Joy’ led to the Eden Gardens as the spirited Kolkatans defeated the heavy thundershowers and waterlogged roads to thronged the iconic venue to savour the taste of the ‘Mother of All Cricketing duels’ — India pitted against Pakistan.
It was ‘Yesterday Once More’ for the fans as they witnessed an August gathering with legends Sachin Tendulkar Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag from India while Pakistan was represented by Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
If the loudest cheer as usual was reserved for Tendulkar, Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan’s rendition of national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ left everyone spellbound.
Tendulkar was cheered vociferously as he tried speaking in Bengali ” Kamon Aco Bhalo achi (acho)” (Hope you are doing well).
“It’s fantastic atmosphere over here. It’s always been exciting and Nice to see stalwarts from Pakistan. We welcome them here. Let’s enjoy cricket above all,” said Tendulkar, who also greeted CM Mamata Banerjee with a ‘Namaskar’.
Imran Khan, who is now a full-time politician let the cricketer in him come out when he addressed the crowd for a couple of minutes.
“On behalf of the Pakistan cricket team, I want to thank people of Kolkata for this warm welcome and great reception you have given us. Hope it’s a great game today. I hope the result will be the same as when I last played for Pakistan on this ground,” said Imran.
Imran last played here during the 1989-90 Nehru Cup where Pakistan beat India in a league game followed by their win in the final against the West Indies.
Bachchan thanked CAB president Sourav Ganguly for inviting him.
“Ami apnar jamaibabu, amar namaskar o pronam neben (I am your son-in-law, please take my regards.) Thank you Sourav and CAB to invite me here to this historic venue to wintess the historic game of cricket between the two countries. I wish all the best for the game. May the better team win. I also thank Mamatadi, for very thoughtfully giving us the symbol of peace between the two nations. May the peace prevail between India and Pakistan,” Bachchan said.