KOLKATA, Jan 3: Cricket fans went down the memory lane when a number of former players from India and Pakistan were felicitated to mark the 25 years of Indo-Pak One-day Internationals.
The group of around 19 former cricketers including Wasim Akram, Intikhab Alam, Ramiz Raja, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar and Anil Kumble went around the stadium in open-air jeeps waving at fans during the 45-minute innings break of second ODI between the two neighbouring countries.
Planned by the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), the felicitation was done by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who gave Rs100,000 each to the cricketers.
Wasim, Intikhab and Ramiz, along with Sadiq Mohammad, Imtiaz Ahmed and Mushtaq Mohammad were taken around the field on a golf cart.
They were accompanied by former India cricketers like Bishan Singh Bedi, Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Dilip Vengsarkar, Krishamachari Srikkanth, Ravi Shastri, Kumble and VVS Laxman.
Kolkata's favourite son Sourav Ganguly was the only one to go around solo in the jeep as the full house Eden responded to the gesture with a thunderous applause.
Incidentally, India and Pakistan had played their first ODI at the Eden Gardens on February 18, 1987 when Salim Malik played a blinder (72 off 35 balls) as Krish Srikkanth's century went in-vain.
Thursday's game marked the resumption of ODI matches between the two countries after a gap of five years.
”It's a historic day over here today. It's wonderful to see and meet most of your ex-cricketers,” said former Pakistani skipper Intikhab Alam.”I met (Bishan Singh) Bedi, Kapil (Dev), Ajit Wadekar. Bishan is a good friend of mine. I met Sunil Gavaskar alongside whom I played for Rest of the World and I also played against him.”—Agencies