The City's Love for Cricket : A Tribute to Kolkata Maidan
The Kolkata Maidan is referred to as the "Gorer Matth" in Bengali. The expression "Gorer Matth" indicates its vastness. The Maidan, its sprawling expanse occupying approximately 1000 acres and running over 3km in length, is where the city breathes and where it catches its breath. It is also the address of Cricket in the city.
The Maidan is philanthropic enough to accommodate every cricketing peculiarit. One would find dozens of matches being played with no middle stump, a helmeted batsman facing a soft ball, wooden sticks for those not equipped with proper bats, shifting boundary lines and flexible rules.
While the above reflects the love of the game for the non-cricketers, there is also some very serious cricket that is played here involving nets, proper gear, white clothes, long hours of well-pitched bowling and straight-bat drives. The majority of the clubs, including the reputed ones having rich heritage that plays cricket have their grounds and tents here. While most of the cricketers in this part of the state at some point in time plays some serious cricket here, the budding cricketers spend most of their time honing their batting, bowling and fielding skills in the dozens of cricket coaching camps and centres that are located across the length and the breadth of Maidan.
This is also where the world renowned cricket ground, Eden Gardens is located! It is widely acknowledged to be the most iconic cricket stadium in India and is a place where the cricket loving people of Kolkata have witnessed many Test Matches, One Day Internationals and T-20 matches. It is also the home of Bengal Cricket and the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).
There is also a myth that Kolkata is believed to be the birth place of cricket in India. English author and journalist Geoffrey Moorhouse writes in his book called Calcutta that Indian cricket was born in the Maidan, with a two-day match in January 1804 between Old Etonians employed by the East India Company and "Calcutta". Irrespective of the said myth, Indian Cricket would indeed be incomplete without the Maidan!