Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee are likely to watch India’s first-ever day-and-night Test match in Kolkata together after ringing the customary Eden Bell to start the proceedings on November 22. A four-member team led by Bangladesh’s Deputy High Commissioner Toufique Hasan did a recce of the Eden Gardens on Tuesday and checked the seating arrangements for the Prime Minister and her 80-odd delegates who will grace the historic occasion.
As per the schedule, Hasina will be on a day-long visit to Kolkata and will watch the match for some time after ringing the Bell. She will ring the Bell just before the Test starts at 1pm local time and return before the closing time at 8pm local time when the Cricket Association of Bengal will organize a grand felicitation.
Hasan did not confirm whether Hasina and Mamata will watch the match together but a CAB official indicated that they would be seen together in one of the President’s box at the Club House named after West Bengal’s legendary Chief Minister Bidhan Chandra Ray. Giving details of Hasina’s programme on Tuesday evening, Hasan said “the Prime Minister will arrive in the morning on November 22 and will come to the Eden to ring the Bell just before the start at 1pm. She will leave to take rest after watching the match for some time and will return again at 8pm for the main felicitation programme.” Hasina will return to Dhaka after the felicitation.
He said Hasina “will be seated in one of the central President Boxes near the Bell. We are happy with the arrangements and looking forward to be part of the historic occasion.” Satisfied after the preliminary recce, the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission will make a final security inspection about four days ahead of the Test.
Hasina and Mamata will be accompanied by Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly, Secretary Jay Shah, cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Naimur Rehman, Bangladesh Cricket Board President Nazmul Hasan along with CAB office bearers. “Following the first day’s play, the players who played the first-ever Test between India and Bangladesh in 2001 will be felicitated followed by speeches by the hon’ble dignitaries,” CAB Secretary Avishek Dalmiya said.
During the lunch and tea breaks, there are plans for a chat show featuring Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and V V S Laxman. India’s first day-night Test is set to draw a full house in the first three days as 50,000 tickets have already been sold or distributed while the remaining 15,000-odd will go for sold over counters.