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Practice match a learning curve for newbies
Arindam Basu
11th November 2017
The quaint setting of Salt Lake campus of Jadavpur University was sporadically disturbed by the droning noise of flights landing at the Dumdum airport nearby. At other times by the exuberance of the team fielding against the visiting Sri Lankan side.
But there was another kind of effervescence around the ground, that of the net bowlers and ball boys.
Meet Prayas Das and Prayas Das. One plays for East Bengal colts and the other East Kolkata District Sports Council. But both are excited about the job at hand. “We really wanted to come here and see the Sri Lankan players,” said the chirpier of the Prayas duo.
While having a chance of seeing Angelo Matthews, Dimuth Karunaratne and Rangana Herath was a huge incentive to see a game of this standard was a learning curve every aspiring cricketer looks for.
Athar Hussain a leggie from CCFC is bubbling with joy at the prospect of bowling to the international side. “I’m very excited. It will be a great learning experience for me,” he added.
Read More..


Pic Courtesy Pratidin

The void
Arindam Basu
20th September 2017
Every time I sit to write a memoriam about Jagmohan Dalmiya I find myself struggling to come to terms with the fact that he is no more. Time flies. It already is his second death anniversary.
Perhaps the best thing about Mr Dalmiya was his disarming smile and handsome presence. I met him for the first time as a young reporter still not fully initiated into the labyrinth of BCCI. So like a fool I walked up to him and said: “Sir, I have heard a lot about you. Can I get an exclusive interview?” Read More..

Jhulan showcases legendary class on world’s biggest stage
Arindam Basu
24th July 2017
The day may not have panned out the way the Indian Eves planned in the final of the ICC Women’s World Cup at the Lord’s in England, but the world did hear the roar of the Bengal Tigress loud and clear.
Economy was never a problem for Jhulan Goswami, but she did wow everyone with her clever and incisive bowling in the final. She plotted the return of the two batswomen around whom England built the innings.
First was Sarah Taylor. After two deliveries to the off side, she bowled a slower on the leg side that prompted Sarah to flick. The result, a simple catch to Sushma Varma. She backs it with an excellent first ball to Fran Wilson, that was full and on the stumps. Wilson was shuffling across on the clip and missed, was struck bang in front of leg-stump. Even Fran doesn't bother to review, off she goes. Read More..

Virat to take back positives from the series
Sayan Banerjee
22nd January 2017
A lose before the Champions Trophy would not hurt India, feels Skipper Virat Kohli, after losing a close contest against England today at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. India won the series 2-1.
Praising Hardik Pandya and Kedar Yadav, Kohli in the post match press conference said, “It was good to see young talents taking responsibilities. The way Hardik and Kedar batted today was a great. The conditions were not easy, but they read it well.
“It was also good to see Dhoni and Yuvraj getting runs together. Both batted very well in the last match.”
Talking about having a fast bowling all rounder in the team, he said, “All the team around the world uses the advantage of having a fast bowling all rounder, it allows you play an extra batsman. Hardik has really shown some characters in the series and has been quite helpful for the team.”
About the pitch he said, “It was nothing difficult we faced. We knew it would be challenging. The wicket has grass and that helped the English bowlers to get the bounce. They were clever and bowled well in the right areas. We knew it would be challenging.” Read More..

A virat Fan in Eden
Arindam Basu
21st January 2017
You have seen him fluttering the indian flag from the galleries. He is a self proclaimed Virat Kohli fan who travels around the country cheering for the men in blue.
Meet Nikash, the 33 years old Indian fan from Odhisa, who was seen at the galleries at the club house today fluttering the tri-colour as India practiced in the morning. Asked if he had a chance to meet his idol, he said "I have met him three-four times and he was very nice to me. I met him last in Cuttack during the second ODI against England."
He is a bus conductor back in his hometown in Cuttack where when not travelling to watch Virat play he hollers stops on long distance routes. "I work as a conducter with a private bus operator. I travedl length and breath of Odhisa when not seeing Virat play," Nikash said. Read More..

Mukesh set out to join squad
Sayan Banerjee
17th November 2016
Mukesh Kumar had made his debut at Lahli during the Ranji Trophy one season back. A year later he is all set to join the squad at the same venue with a bright chance of making it in the playing eleven considering the nature of the pitch and Bengal’s eagerness of snatching 6 points from Baroda, languishing at the bottom of the group.
Post a good performance against Baroda in the C. K Nayudu tournament in which he took four wickets for 37 runs, he looks to be included in the side as the third seamer with veteran Ashoke Dinda. The toss up will be between Amit Kuila and Sayan Ghosh.
Mukesh was injured during a practice session in the Jadavpur university Salt Lake campus ground, before the start of the Ranji Trophy, leading to his droop from the team, “It was disappointing when I was pulled out of the team due a figure injury. But it is good that I will join team tomorrow. I am very happy with the way I played in the C. K. Nayudu trophy,” said Mukesh.Read More..

Bengal need to beat Baroda to advance in CK Nayudu
Sayan Banerjee
3rd November 2016
Bengal needs to win their last match commencing November 7 against Baroda at the Jadavpur University Cricket Ground in Salt Lake to qualify for the next round of C K Nayudu Tournament.
Despite a good start, the team finds itself in a do-or-die situation. “It is really unfortunate. We played well so far. We have also played well against Tamil Nadu in the last match, but we were unlucky that the match was washed out,” said skipper Abhishek Kumar Raman, who currently plays for Bhawanipur cricket club.

In the first match, Bengal secured a first innings lead against Saurashtra, the second match against Gujarat was a draw and the third match against Tamil Nadu was washed out, and Bengal could only managed 5 points from 3 matches.
But overall the team’s performance has been good with few players showing their ability of playing cricket in the higher level.
Skipper Abhishek Kumar Raman, who has shown good performance with back to back centuries said, “The tournament is a good opportunity for us to make our name and get a chance to play the Ranji Trophy next season. I got centuries in two matches and am happy with the way I am batting. We played well, but it was unfortunate that the last match was washed out. We will give our full effort to win the next match against Baroda and qualify for the next round.”
Ritwik Roy Chowdhury is the other one who is getting good starts but failing to convert them into the big ones. In the last match he remained not out at 56 off 191 balls before the play was called off. “I was batting well when the match was called off. It is most disappointing for a batsman when his fails to convert a good start into a big score. I have to work hard and bat with patience,” said Ritwik.Read More..

Sorted Gowtham is ready to impress
Arindam Basu
20th October 2016
There is a certain calmness about Krishnappa Gowtham. The way he bowled during the game and after that for almost 30 minutes, before sauntering out of the ground. There was no bubbly exuberance after getting a wicket or raging angst at being sent to the ropes. He goes about his job quietly.
After spending almost four seasons in the winter of cricket wilderness, Krishnappa Gowtham is on a road to salvation and the lanky bowling all rounder from Karnataka believes this time he has more arrows in his quiver to keep him in the hunt.
Hungry and eager to show his improvement, Gowtham has been on song taking 3 for 97 against Jharkhand and now in the tie against Delhi he returned with figures of 3 for 26 on a day when Delhi got bundled out for 90.
“I have been practicing very hard. Now I am much more focussed and have more control over the situations,” Gowtham said at stumps on the opening day of the Ranji tie at Eden Gardens here today.
Asked how frustrating it was to be sidelined for almost four years, he said : “It is obviously frustrating. But that is a cricketer’s life. I never allowed that to demotivate me. I worked harder, trained harder and was determined to come back.”
Incidentally Gowtham got sidelined after the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy second quarter-final tie against Saurashtra, a match in which Cheteshwar Pujara scored 352 and Gowtham bled 206 runs before taking his wicket. Read More..

I can mould to the need of the hour: Abhimanyu
Arindam Basu
16th October 2016
When you talk to him he sounds like an obedient student, but once he takes to the field he is a warrior. Meet Abhimanyu Easwaran who begun the domestic season in a whirlwind manner scoring centuries on both the innings against Uttar Pradesh in Jaipur.
While the first innings of 142 was a measured display of controlled aggression, understanding the opposition and keeping the need of the team in mind; the second one of unbeaten 110 was that of a defiant anchor against some ball-talk by Kuldeep Yadav, who threatened to run through the Bengal batting.
Having started his career with Gurudas club in Narkeldanga, this right hand bat moved to club cricket and played with YMCA for five seasons, before signng for Kalighat this season. Talking to CAB Media, a very satisfied Easwaran said: "Its a great feeling to be able to score big runs in back to back innings. More importantly it has helped my team. I can mould myself with the need of the hour, When needed I can bat aggresively, if needed I can drop anchor and yet keep the score moving." Read More..

The merry band of Eden
Arindam Basu (with inputs from Aishwarya and Sayan)
3rd October 2016
Lalu Gupta is from Domjur in Howrah district. As a boy he had always dreamt of playing cricket at the highest level. He was good at batting also. He is at Eden Gardens today.
Only he is on the other side of the fence, as part of the 24-men dhaki team that rolls the drums before the match.
Under a lazy sun with torn clouds flying about like upturned whales, he sits along with his band of merry men beating the drums to start off every session. Their presence has also brought about the Durga Puja ambience to the stadium filling the air with an essence of festivity.
Asked what happened to his dream, he said: "I was crazy about cricket. Even now I watch all India matches. I cant express my happiness at being in Eden Gardens and seeing the Indian players at a shake hand distance. My dreams have been fulfilled," Lalu said.
Asked what he dpoes for the rest of the year, "Playing drums during durga puja is quite rewarding. For the rest of the year I sell tea." Read More..

500 Stories to tell

3rd October 2016

Boria Majumdar

LAST PART

Maturity
The third and final phase in the history of Indian Test cricket started in Kolkata in March 2001 when Saurav Ganguly’s India came back from an impossibly hopeless situation and beat Steve Waugh’s world champion Australians in what can be ranked as the best ever Test match of all time.
Facts before the start of the third day of the Kolkata Test: Steve Waugh’s Australians had won 16 Test matches in a row. India had been decimated in a little over than three days at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Australia had put up a mammoth 445 in the first innings at Calcutta.
India was reeling at 128-8 at the end of the second day.
What followed still appears unbelievable. Andrew Stoddart in the 19th century; Mike Brearley in the 20th and Sourav Ganguly in the 21st century. Only twice before had a team risen to erase the ignominy of following-on with a spectacular victory.
This was certainly the most stunning comeback in Test cricket history. Man of the Match V.V.S. Laxman’s record-rewriting 281, Harbhajan Singh’s hattrick embellished match haul of 13 for 196 and Rahul Dravid’s determined 180 had made this possible. Not to forget Sachin Tendulkar’s spell in the last afternoon when he picked three key wickets in a matter of five overs.
With Ganguly’s Indians garnishing this victory with yet another close triumph at Chepauk in Chennai, it is not without reason that this series has been labelled as the best Test series ever. Read More..


(Boria Majumdar is a cricket historian and journalist)
Kohli a crowd heartthrob

2nd October 2016

Dolon Basu

This 5ft 9inch man in Indian jersey tells the crowd to cheer and the crowd start chanting. He tells them to cheer for India and the crowd responds with a roar.
Its 250th Test Match at Eden and the crowd came in numbers to just catch a glimpse of their hero. 30,000 to be exact. And most of them for one man--Virat Kohli.
He has not only earned the tag of being a hard hitting batsman, but also of a youth icon. He has more than 11million followers on Twitter alone and can claim to have a popularity graph that is rising with each passing day.
He won many hearts when he lashed out on twitterati for trolling Anushka and blaming her for his poor form. Kolkata girls are not an exception. Meet Tiya and Swarna, two teeneagers who came to see him at Eden Gardens and were not disappointed.
"He kept on talking to the crowd. He said dont chant my name, say India India," Tiya, was breathless.
They were treated to an innings of class and style by Virat as he cut, drove and pulled effortlessly for a 65 ball 45 runs. The collective sigh at his dismissal was almost unnerving. It seemed the people would walk out of the park. Read More..

Corporate cricket a giant success

2nd October 2016

Arindam with inputs from (Aindrila and Promit)

As you walk towards the J block inside Eden Gardens, you will be surprised by the collective cheers from the indoor gymnasium and not the stands. Yes its raining boundaries and sixes at the indoor complex where "6ixes", CAB's first ever Indoor Corporate Cricket Tournament is taking place.
Corporate cricket is like a wiff of fresh air to the regular corporate people. Who doesn’t love to get a break from the monotonous routines of day-to-day life? This tournament is exactly what these people look for and they are having a gala. Conceived by CAB President Sourav Ganguly to promote Test cricket, sell tickets and spread the idea of a healthy lifestyle among the corporate houses, the event has been a great success.
It gives these corporate houses the amazing opportunity to play alongside the India and New Zealand teams playing the 250th Test at the Eden Gardens now.
“The players are very motivated by the fact that they are playing in the same place where Sourav Ganguly practices whenever he gets time even now. They are keen to perform really good in this tournament. This event has been a good success till now,” said Debaditya Sinha Roy, General Manager, Marketing and Project Department of High Life Management. Vikas Agarwal and Ravi Lohia (from SREI) have always been into sports, “The environment is so good. It gives you the actual feeling of a match that you play on ground unlike the other air conditioned indoor stadiums. This is a walk down the memory lane as we are running around, sweating out and feeling the atmosphere of how we used to play in our childhood.”, was their opinion regarding this ongoing event. Read More..

500 Stories to tell

2nd October 2016

Boria Majumdar

PART II

Adolescence
Despite winning against England at Chepauk in February 1952 and following it up with a series win against Pakistan, Indian cricket continued to struggle in the 1950s and 1960s. Series wins against England in 1960, a rare away win against NZ in 1967 and some important wins against Australia notwithstanding, it was not until 1971 that Indian cricket made giant strides and gained world recognition.
The miracle of 71
Beating the West Indies
This tour, regarded as a watershed in India’s cricket history, saw India compete in all the five Test matches. The win in the second Test, which resulted in India’s first series win in the Caribbean, was followed up by other, no less tangible, performances against the world’s most feared cricket team. K. N. Prabhu, one of India’s senior most cricket writers, who covered the tour for the Times of India, summed it up in the following words, “The 1971 tour of the West Indies will be remembered for three distinct achievements. These are- India’s first victory in the Caribbean, our players team spirit through the series and the emergence of a young batsman who can lay claim to a place in cricket’s hall of fame.” Read More..


To Be Continued...
Saha all praise for Kumar, Luke rue batting debacle

1st October 2016

Sayan Banerjee

Wriddhiman Saha lauded Bhuvaneshwar Kumar for his efforts and said he bowled really well and he has contributed most to where India stood at the end of the play.
Saha, who has the best view of the bowler from behind the stumps, said: “Bhuvi bolwed really well. The others contributed too, but the Eden wicket is not the usual one. If a bowler bowls at the right places he will get result.”
“After the rain we got a better movement, the ball was swinging and there was not enough lights so it was an advantage us and we capitalized on it well,” he added.
Asked about the Indian tail wagging, he said: “We had plan of building on the partnership form the morning and that is what we exactly did. It is normal that batsmen would make runs, but if the tail enders score it is always an advantage for the batting team.”
Asked if he was making it a habit of playing shots with the tail-enders, he said: “In our team every one can play shots. There is no special thing in it.” Read More..

Carnival in the stadium

1st October 2016

Sayan Banerjee

The sun is blazing down, but a section of the stadium looks like an oasis of pleasure. Come to the carnival zone. You can get a chance to relive cricket from 1932 in the photo gallery here. There is a gaming zone, where groups like Rangoli have set up their stalls. Jugglers show off their magic with hands, while men on stilts keep children engaged.
“It has been a pleasure to be here. I had no idea that cricket ground can be so exciting. Today I am with my friends. Few of my friends have spent more time here that the galley”, said Sumit, after trying his hand at juggling balls.
“I am cricket crazy and follow the game religiously. But this carnival is especial. It gave me a chance to see Dada (Sourav Ganguly) from touching distance. It means a lot to me”, said an emotional Audity.
Sunil Dhar, a member of the Rangoli team, said, how his group is enjoying the days here. “We are jugglers. We put up stalls in fairs and parties. But never in a cricket stadium. It gave us an opportunity to see the cricketers from close. I saw Dada last day. He is truly like a Maharaj”. Read More..

500 stories to tell

1st October 2016

Boria Majumdar

PART-- I

500 Test matches. A journey that has never been short on drama and achievement, intrigue and controversy and has always been exciting. Boria Majumdar divides the matches gone by into three stages, infancy, adolescence and maturity.
Infancy-
India Debuts in Style
When the Indians traveled to England in 1932, nothing much was known of their capabilities. By the time they returned, C.K. Nayudu and his teammates had established themselves as a force to reckon with.
And soon after the Indian team arrived in England on 13 April, 1932, the Evening Standard commented on the socio-political significance of the tour:
No politics, no caste, just cricket. This is the unofficial slogan of the cricket team that has come from India after a lapse of 21 years to try its strength against England and the first class counties. Read More..


To Be Continued...
Eden wicket two-paced, we were irresponsible: Rahane

30th September 2016

Sayan Banerjee

It takes a lot of guts to own up a mistake and to do it openly before the media needs honesty and bravery.
While, expressing surprise at the two-paced wicket here at Eden Gardens, Ajinkya Rahane said he and Cheteshwar Pujara were to blame for the tight spot India was in at the end of the first day of the Test against New Zealand.
"I think we did not bat well. There were soft dismissals. Me and (Cheteshwar) Pujara were well set. We were playing good. At least one of us should have carried on and scored a hundred. It was our responsibility to see the day through," Rahane said at a post match press meet.
He also expressed surprise at the wicket at Eden Gardens. "The wicket was two paced. Generally the wicket here in Kolkata is flat and a good batting track. But today it had something for the pacers. The spinners also got good grip. I thought the wicket was two paced," he said. Read More..

Virat reloaded

30th September 2016

Arindam Basu

My wife recently acquired a Virat Kohli limited edition smart phone. It has a hotline where you can chat with the skipper of Team India. I asked her what made her do it? She said the man is so passionate.
Of course he is. Perhaps she was impressed with the way Virat Kohli came out in support of Anushka Sharma after she was trolled on Twitter and Social Media. Perhaps she was impressed with his metrosexual disposition. Perhaps she was impressed with his body language on the field.
For on the ground he is a licking flame, waiting to devour everything around it in its wake. From his early days, Virat is a ball of fire on the ground, and it showed occasionally in violent bursts, clinched fists and punching of air. He brought with him something we Indians call attitude. Before him Sourav Ganguly had of course brought the swagger to among the Men in Blue. But after that it was a more sedate session under Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni. They were great skippers, but were gentlemen to the core.
Never for once doubt that Virat is not a gentleman. But when did that ever stop someone from cutting fire with fire. As his name means, he just always had a 'giant' heart. Right from the time he led India to the U-19 World Cup win to the matured Virat Kohli who led India to victory in the Caribbeans. Read More..

At 40 Eden Gardens just getting started

28th September 2016

Arindam Basu

There is this old adage "Life begins at 40". When India and New Zealand walk out to toss at this hallowed ground, Test matches in this stadium will turn 40. Life is just getting started at Eden Gardens, with more good things to come. But it will be nice to take a quick look at how we arrived at this magic number.
The first Test match India played in Eden Gardens was against D R Jardine's England with a young C K Naidu leading the Indian side. The match was drawn, but it set the tone for a winter carnival in Calcutta. Test cricket became synonymous with Christmas, New Year, plum cakes and a learned crowd that appreciated the game like none in the world. Today we find it difficult to fill the stands, but in those days there wasn't enough space at Eden Gardens. People thronged to the ground, queued up outside the stadium waiting for a chance to enter, squat around the ground in hundreds with transistor glued to their ears.

My grandfather told me that in the old ground, people would get on the terrace of All India Radio to watch a match. Every cheer inside the stadium was responded with echoes from outside. Every hush and despair resonated on the streets around the ground. Such was the magnetic charm of Test matches in Eden Gardens.
During the course of the 40 test matches, Eden Gardens has matured from being three sides open, to becoming one of the best stadiums in the world with world class facilities. The pitches have also changed direction to the High Court end. The wickets have become a little more predictable than what it was earlier. But the emotions have remained the same. And so has the charm.
During this time we have played some memorable matches also. The first match that yielded result was the one against Australia, when the visiting team led by Johnson defeated Umrigar's India by 94 runs. The next match that comes back to memory in a flash is the India Pakistan match in 1960/61. If for nothing it has a historical significance. This was the first time the two countries were playing in Eden after Independence. F Mahmood led the visitors against the Indian team led by Nari Contractor. The match was drawn, but Eden was packed to the rafters that day and according to the witnesses the crowd spilled over till the Monument. Read More..

Lord of the lanes

18th September 2016

Arindam Basu

Kolkata is the heartland of Indian football. The leather orb had magical powers. It had the power to divide the city in two halves with standard bearers holding their respective posts. Then came a young man, whose first love was soccer. But he changed the by-lanes of the city forever. Bengal got a new Dada, who set a million minds on fire.
The lanes, by-lanes of this labyrinthine city had only one master. Football. And there arrived a new Prince in waiting. A staff and a ball was enough and the streets errupted in a throbbing game of cricket. The Bengali carried Sourav Ganguly like fire in their hearts and children flocked to cricket clinics and camps. Suddenly, a giant share of the streets went to the gentleman's game.
Cricket has evolved faster than civilization itself on these otherwise languid streets. A wood, a hardbound exercise book, a slice of bamboo staff and a rubber ball was enough. Sometimes, old newspaper rolled into a ball and tied with strings would suffice. The prudes would ask how about a wicket, and the lords of the lanes would show a piller of bricks, or a wall with three staff drawn like cave paintings. Read More..