Indian cricketers were winding up their practice session and their Pakistan counterparts had just arrived. It’s not known whether Mohammad Amir is a fan of Virat Kohli, but when the two bumped into each other, the Pakistan fast bowler asked for a bat. Kohli happily obliged. It looked like an extension of the Asia Cup camaraderie, when Kohli had wished Amir luck on his return to international cricket.
“I am very happy to see Amir back in action. He understood his mistake and has corrected himself and came back. He has always been an outstanding bowler, a world-class bowler…” Kohli had said. And during his fiery spell at Mirpur, he had congratulated the quick on the field. On Friday, Suresh Raina gave Shoaib Malik a bear hug. The Kohli-Amir exchange was touching.
Sourav’s day out
Around mid-afternoon, Sourav Ganguly entered the playing arena at Eden for another round of pitch inspection. Virat Kohli walked up to him and the two had a lengthy chat. As Kohli said goodbye to the former India captain; Ashish Nehra, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh surrounded their ‘Dadi’, catching up on old times. Ganguly had been instrumental in developing their careers. This is Ganguly’s first India-Pakistan match as an administrator and he is leaving no stone unturned — from inviting Amitabh Bachchan to arranging felicitations for former India and Pakistan captains. “Life on the field was tougher,” he maintains. Today Ganguly had one Pakistan cricketer in his office. Shoaib Malik had dropped in to put forward a request for passes for his wife Sania Mirza’s family. The Pakistan batsman left with a broad smile.
One mark to fall
At least one team would lose their unbeaten record tomorrow. India have an all-win record against Pakistan in the World Cups. Eden Gardens, on the other hand, is almost like a home away from home for Pakistan. They played India in four ODIs here and won all of them — the last one being an 85-run pounding in January 2013. “Koi ek record toh kaal tutega (one team will lose its record tomorrow),” Younis said with a wink.
Eden, a fortress
Sand bunkers, watch towers, UAVs and the deployment of close to 4,000 security personnel – Eden Gardens will turn into a fortress tomorrow. How are they enjoying life in Kolkata, Pakistan coach Waqar Younis was asked today. “It’s hotel to the ground and back; due to security reasons. So all’s well,” he replied with a smile. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has promised fool-proof security for Pakistan during their stay in the city and so far, arrangements have been spot on. Banerjee will pay a visit to Eden during tomorrow’s game.