Eden in Akash's book, Deep's thoughts
1st October 2016
The iconic Eden Gardens have been special to players old and new. Two former India cricketers Akash Chopra and Deep Dasgupta are no different. If Akash Chopra ever writes a book again then Eden Gardens will be a chapter in that memoir, while Deep Dasgupta forever will regret not having played an international match at the venue.
"I have a vague idea of a book, which if I ever write will certainly feature Eden Gardens. I already know the name of the book though. It will be Life is a Pitch and will have my memories of the grounds in India and abroad where I have played. Eden Gardens will be among the top three grounds where I have played my trade," Akash told CAB while ruminating on his memories of the iconic venue.
Deep Dasgupta, for whom Eden Gardens has been a home ground for over a decade, has a bagful of memories of the ground. But his first day here will always be extra special: "I was a Delhi boy, who had shifted base to Kolkata. The first time I walked on to the ground I was overawed. As a 17-year old to stand on the green carpet. I was almost hesitant to walk, lest I spoiled the grass. Then I rubbed my hand on it and it was like magic. I felt one with the ground. For many years there on I have played at this ground."
"My first game at this ground was a club cricket final between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. I was playing for East Bengal. There was a sizeable crowd on the ground and they were divided into two groups. You could see the the rivalry of football spilling over," Deep said adding he will never forget that day.
Two other matches will forever remain special for the former Indian keeper-batsman. In 2006 when Bengal enforced the first ever follow-on on Mumbai. "It was a big match and we were extremely pleased to have been able to rub the big brother of domestic cricket on the wrong side. And finally, the match against Baroda with the Pathan brothers in the side. Beating them to enter the final was memorable," Deep said.
"Duleep Trophy Final in 2006 that I played for North Zone against Sri Lanka A is extra special. Kookaburra balls had come into fashion and we beat the visitors here at Eden. What sweetened the pot was my 188. Batting here has always been special. In my third first class season, I was coming back from a Hepatitis D attack. I had missed the first part of Ranji Trophy and was told it was a make or break game for me. Again Eden didn't disappoint. I got a 90 plus against Bengal in the first innings and a 40 odd runs in the second. It ressurrected my career," Akash remembers.
And of course 2008 when he played the IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders. "It was a the first season. We all were trying to fathom what would happen and KKR was the best franchise. We were coming here to this ground and doing something never did before. It is memorable being part of that extravaganza," Akash signed off.
However, Deep has a lonely disappointment. "I will regret forever not having played an international match at the venue. I had often dreamt myself in the middle with 70,000 odd people cheering for the home team. But then some dreams are meant to be dreams," he added.
CAB MEDIA DESK
Arindam Basu: 9830388835