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‘PM to enjoy BD-India match at Eden’

Published : 22 Oct 2019 09:22 PM | Updated : 05 Sep 2020 11:48 PM

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accepted an invitation from the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) to attend the first day’s play of the second Test cricket match with India at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 22, CAB President and former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly has said.

Ganguly told reporters in Kolkata on Monday night that Hasina would also be given the honour of ringing the giant bell at the Eden Gardens stadium to signal the start of the Test, the first between the two countries at the historic venue. "The Bangladesh PM will be arriving on November 22. If all goes well, she will ring the bell (to signal the start) of the Test," said Ganguly who takes over as the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at its annual general meeting on Wednesday.

Ganguly also said he will personally invite Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to watch the Test. Chances are high that Hasina, Modi and Mamata will together the Test in Kolkata on November 22, a CAB source said. Modi is likely to be in Kolkata on November 22 to attend a cultural event and the Indian PM may join Hasina and Mamata at the Eden Gardens to watch the match.

Asked if the strike by Bangladeshi cricketers going on strike could jeopardize the upcoming three-match T20 and two-Test series in India, Ganguly said he was hopeful that the matter would be resolved. “It is their internal matter but I am optimistic that it will be sorted out before the series in India. I am sure they will come,” the BCCI President-elect said.

Ganguly said he wants to make the upcoming India-Bangladesh Test in Kolkata a memorable event by inviting and felicitating all the players of the two countries who had taken part in the first-ever Test match that was played at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka in November, 2000 after Bangladesh got the International Cricket Council’s Test-playing nation status.

"We will invite all the players of that first Test match that Bangladesh played. It was against India. I will write to the Bangladesh Cricket Board and personally as BCCI President to the players of that Indian team. We will do a small felicitation ceremony at the end of the first day's play (on November 22)," Ganguly said.

It was in the first-ever Test between India and Bangladesh in the year 2000 when Ganguly had made his debut as India’s Test captain and staring a new era in Indian cricket. India had won that Test match by nine wickets against Naimur Rahman Durjoy's Bangladesh team. The Bangladesh team had prominent players like Habibul Bashar, left-arm spinner Mohammed Rafique, pacer Hasibul Hossain Shanto, Akram Khan and Aminul Islam Bulbul.

Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan were some of the leading members of that Indian team 19 years ago. Meanwhile, India responded cautiously to reports of Bangladesh's cricketers going on strike saying it was the internal matter of that country.

"The BCCI will wait and watch the developments closely. This is an internal matter of the Bangladesh Cricket Board and until and unless we hear from them, there is no need for us to make any comments," a senior BCCI functionary said. However, many in the Indian Cricket Board feel that Sourav Ganguly's cordial relations with both players and officials in Bangladesh cricket might help in sorting out the situation.

"There is a Test match in Kolkata, which will certainly generate a lot of interest among the Bangladesh fans keeping the local connect in mind. A lot of fans are expected to travel from Dhaka and other cities to watch the Test match in Kolkata. I believe that they will pay heed to our President-elect's request if the situation demands," another BCCI official said.