Eden Gardens all but deserted as Chinnaswamy stages the big battle

By Debayan Mukherjee, IANS
Sunday, February 27, 2011

KOLKATA - As Sachin Tendulkar blazed away to glory in the carnival like atmosphere at Bangalores Chinnaswamy Stadium Sunday, it was all quiet at the nearly deserted Eden Gardens here.

Only a handful of security personnel lazed around at the entrance of the stadium, the original venue for the India-England World Cup match. All the gates were closed. An eerie silence prevailed as none of the officials had turned up.

It is a holiday here and nobody is allowed to enter the premises, blabbered a security guard reluctantly, seemingly bored with having nothing to do when it could well have been their busiest day at work had Eden Gardens not lost the match to Bangalore.

It was a sharp contrast to the electrifying atmosphere that would have prevailed if the game was on in the hallowed ground, which had staged the World Cup final in 1987 and the semifinal in 1996. A packed stadium and ebullient fans yelling their hearts out is all routine at the ground, considered the best in this part of the world.

Bahut kharab lag raha hai jarur, hum intezar main the aaj ke liye. Sale jarur dugna hota, par kya kare! (Feeling let down of course. We were waiting for this big day to come, profit certainly would have been more for sure, but now here I am doing practically nothing), said a tea stall owner outside the stadium.

Experienced curator Prabir Mukherjee mirrored the feelings of disappointment at the match being taken away from the Eden Gardens by the International Cricket Council on grounds of unpreparedness.

“I do not comprehend the reason behind such a decision. We were fully prepared; the pitch condition was good on the day of inspection. I do not see any cricketing reason behind this stripping off. I feel that it is the tournaments loss more than Eden Gardens, he said.

A crestfallen CAB joint secretary, Biswarup Dey adds: I cannot express how bad it feels to watch the match originally designated at the Eden Gardens, being played away from home. To escape the misery I am currently watching an U-14 match in far off Murshidabad district.”

Ardent lovers of the game too were dejected.

It couldnt have been better and bigger - a Sunday India Vs England World Cup tie at the Eden Gardens. As I saw the players lending their voice to the national anthem at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, I only imagined what the scene would have been like had it been at Eden Gardens, said Avinoj Roy, an engineering student.

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