EDEN GARDENS GROUND, KOLKATA
Eden Garden stadium . Photo Courtesy : Google
KOLKATA ( CALCUTTA)
Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), “ the city of Joy”, is the capital of India’s Bengal state. Founded as an East India Company trading port, it was India’s capital under the British Raj from 1773–1911. Today it’s known for its grand colonial architecture, art galleries and cultural festivals. The famous Ramakrishna Math is situated in the outskirts at Belur, Kolkata.
KOLKATA AND CRICKET
According to Historian and Author of many books on Cricket, Mihir Bose in his book “ A history of Indian Cricket “, writes that, “ The Calcutta Cricket Club was in existence by 1792 and is probably the second oldest cricket club in the world after the MCC (England)”. All the early mention of cricket in India centres around Calcutta, the first cricket match was played there on 18th & 19th Jan. 1804 and the first recorded century on Indian soil was in Calcutta”. But Bombay took the game, making it the centre of Indian cricket.
While Calcutta continues to show immense enthusiasm for the game and Eden Gardens is one of the great Test match centres of the world, only a handful of Bengalis played Test cricket. Calcutted provides the best, the most dedicated spectators, but very few players.
KOLKATA – EDEN GARDENS GROUND- MECCA OF INDIAN CRICKET
https://youtu.be/7CHC7Pp4WC8 (inside Ground- Video)
Although the original ownership of the land on which the cricket grounds now stand is disputed, it is likely that it was once owned by wealthy zamindars of the village of Gobindapur, which was combined with the villages of Kalikata and Sutanuti by Job Charnock in 1686 to create Calcutta. The zamindars, forced to leave their land, were compensated handsomely to settle in other parts of the city, and the property came under the control of the East India Company.
EDEN GARDEN STADIUM
DISTANCE OF PITCH
According to Wikipedia distances from the center of the pitch to the boundary is about offside 66 Meters and onside 69 Meters, High Court end side 64 meters and Pavilion 71 Meters around the ground.
Though there is no definite information about the history of Eden Gardens, some believe that the land belonged to the Maharaja of Cooch-Behar, while some are of the opinion that it was the property of the Auckland Family. However, one thing which is certain is that the land was conferred to Governor General’s family, who, in turn, presented it to the citizens of Calcutta for recreational purposes.
It was, then, that the Calcutta Cricket Club was established, Eden Gardens serving as it’s headquarter. In the year 1871, the pavilion was built with which started the history of playing cricket in the ground, amidst Sylvan surroundings. However, it was in the year 1917-18 that the first ever first-class match was played. The foremost test match played was in January1934, against Douglas Jardine’s MCC. Since this first match, the ground has hosted more test matches than any other venue in India. Talking about the one day internationals, the first match was played in 1987 February against Pakistan.
Popularly called the Lord’s of Asia, Eden Gardens is the oldest cricket ground in India and also one of the finest in the world. It was established in the year 1864 .Apart from a cricket ground, Eden Garden comprises an indoor cricket stadium, two indoor sports complexes and the All India Radio building. The stadium hosted its first ever first-class cricket match in 1917-18. The first test match of this stadium was played in January 1934. A one day match was played here for the first time in February 1987, between India and Pakistan.
The stadium is situated in B.B.D. Bagh area of the Kolkata city near Secretariat and Calcutta High Court. It stands in more than 50 acres of blissful landscape. The verdant pathways of Eden Gardens are shaded by huge mahogany, mango and Banyan trees that make it a peaceful place to sit and enjoy the marvels of nature. There is also a 3 storeyed Burmese Pagoda in red and yellow that was brought here by Lord Dalhousie.
A brand new pitch cover was installed in 2016 from England. The entire ground can be covered in 15-20 minutes.
It’s the second largest stadium in the country with 66,000 capacity after renovation. It is also used for Football matches.
The entire stadium and the surrounding land is still administered by the Defence Ministry of India, without whose permission no event can take place. The Cricket Association of Bengal is merely a lesser and not the owner.
Modernization Of Eden Garden
The first time ever Eden Gardens was revamped was in the 1987 World Cup. Being the venue wherein the final match was to take place, the ground was given a face lift and covered stands were built all around, with a modern ClubHouse and pavilion. In the present times, the Club House holds the office of the Cricket Association of Bengal. Floodlights were first installed in the year 1993, in the stadium, on the eve of the five-nation tournament, held to celebrate the CAB Diamond Jubilee. The ground played host to all the day-night one-day international matches in the tournament.
Eden Gardens holds the distinction of being one of the largest cricketing facilities in the world. It is a dream-come-true for all the cricketers in the world, when they play in this magnificent and gigantic lush green stadium. Boasting of one of the largest seating arrangements in the world, the average number of people attending the matches has never been less than 50, 000. The stadium is always filled with people, who cheer the players and keep their hopes alive and the spectators play as the 12th man for the home team. . However, on the flip side, crowd violence has marred some of the key matches played in this ground.
Eden Gardens, today, is basking in the glory and has reached the pinnacle of success. Whether it was the epic India-Australia Test match in 2001, or the hat-trick clinched by Indian spinner, Harbhajan Singh, against Australia or South Africa’s comeback into International cricket, or even matches against the arch-rivals Pakistan, Eden Gardens has always been known to produce some of the most exciting and electrifying cricket encounters. The stadium is also the home ground of Kolkata Knight Riders, a franchise of the recently started India Premier League (IPL).
The walls of the ‘Pride of Indian cricket’ gets wall art like any other cricket stadium. What’s fascinating about the wall art is that it has been prepared by over 25 students from Kolkata’s Government College of Art & Craft. The decoration of the project was managed by Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). The wall art is about four storeys tall on one side.
“Our basic idea was to capture the feeling – the awe and excitement people feel when for the first time they see the historic field,” said Sayan Mukherjee one of the artists responsible for the work, “As children, when we walked in for the first time here in the stands, we felt like it was a magic, a transformation and through this work, we wanted to highlight that.
”Here are a few photos of Eden Gardens’ wall art work :-
Photo Courtesy: Indian Express
Photo Courtesy: Indian Express
The Kolkata stadium also has the paintings of cricketers celebrating their success. The entrance of the stadium has photos of legendary cricketers Kapil Dev, Sourav Ganguly, Jhulan Goswami and others.
Kapil Dev rang the Big Bell ( like Big Bell at Lord’s , England) just before the Indian and New Zealand teams walked out for the national anthem on the opening day of the second Test at the Eden Gardens at Kolkata on Friday. ( in 2016)
Former Indian captain Kapil Dev with CAB’s president Sourav Ganguly. AP
India’s first World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev rang the bell just before the Indian and New Zealand teams walked out for the national anthem on the opening day of the second Test at the Eden Gardens at Kolkata on Friday in 2016.
Accompanied by Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) President and former India captain Sourav Ganguly, Kapil Dev completed the much sought-after ritual in front of a motley crowd. Ganguly had stated that every morning it will be rung by a cricketer from either side or ex-players.
The stadium’s outfield and drainage system came under a lot of criticism. When Sourav Ganguly became CAB President in 2016, he made sure that a new covering process was done in the outfield , so that the outfield does not remain waterlogged for long. The drainage system was also upgraded. Previously the CAB had only 3 super soppers in place. Keeping in mind the unpredictable weather conditions, Sourav ordered 2 more super soppers from Australia so that even if it rained, the ground could be made ready for the match to resume quickly.
Eden Gardens had installed a new electronic scoreboard like MCG. The new scoreboard will show all the details, highlights and graphics of a match.
“After consulting the umpires, we have raised the height of the sight screens which has resulted in reduction of around 850 seats at the Club House and High Court ends,” Cricket Association of Bengal joint secretary Subir Ganguly said.
The reduction of the seats is a blow to the ordinary cricket spectators.
NEW DRESSING ROOMS
The International Cricket Council (ICC) wanted two more dressing rooms at the Eden Gardens which will host the World Twenty20 final in 2016. The Eden Gardens had only two dressing rooms, one for the home team and the other for the visiting team before T20 WC 2016. . But as the women’s World T20 final will also be held on the same day, cricket’s world governing body has asked the CAB for four change rooms and now it has 4 dressing rooms.
Eden Gardens underwent renovation for the 2011 World cup. Renovation had been undertaken to meet the standards set by the ICC for the 2011 World Cup. The Cricket Association of Bengal retained the team of Burt Hill and VMS to renovate the Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium. The plans for the renovated stadium included a new clubhouse and players’ facilities, upgrades of the exterior walls to give the stadium a new look, cladding the existing roof structure with a new metal skin, new/upgraded patron amenities & signage and general infrastructure improvements. The upgrade also meant reduction of the seating capacity to about 68,000 from around 94,000 before the upgrade.
The stadium hosted three scheduled World Cup 2011 Matches on 15, 18 and 20 March 2011. In the last of these three matches (Kenya vs Zimbabwe), the stadium had the lowest ticket-purchasing crowd in its recorded history with 15 spectators having bought tickets.
The Historic stands of Eden Gardens
The stands of the Eden Gardens stadium in Kolkata are named after prominent cricketers and soldiers of the Indian Army. The names include that of Sourav Ganguly, Pankaj Roy, Jagmohan Dalmiya, and B. N. Dutt.
Some of the names of the Soldiers after whom 4 stands are named include, Colonel Neelakantan Jayachandran Nair, Havildar Hangpan Dada, Major Dhan Singh Thapa and Subedar Joginder Singh Sahnan.
LC Dhan Singh Thapa and Subedar Joginder Singh were the war heroes of 1962 Sino- Indian War and were awarded posthumously with Param Vir Chakra, the highest wartime military gallantry award in India. Col NJ Nair and Havildar Dada sacrificed their lives while fighting insurgents in Nagaland and Kashmir respectively. Both were awarded posthumously with Ashok Chakra, India’s highest peacetime military gallantry award
- In 1977, New York Cosmos played a Football match against Mohun Bagun at the stadium. Edson Arantes do Nascimento “aka” Pelé played in that match for the Cosmos. The match was drawn at 2–2.
- 16 football fans died in a stampede after a derby league game between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan on 16 August 1980.
- Eden Gardens hosted the 1987 Cricket World Cup Final which was the first ever Cricket World Cup final hosted outside England. The match ended with Australia defeating England by 7 runs. This was the first time Australia won the Cricket WC Final.
- The 1996 World Cup semi-final was called off and Sri Lanka awarded the match after crowd disturbances following an Indian batting collapse.
- During the 2nd final of the 1997 Independence Cup the Test and ODI captains of the Indian cricket team of all time (with a few notable exceptions) were given a lap of honour around the stadium.
- In 1999, leading Indian batsmanSachin Tendulkar was run out after colliding with Pakistan’s Shoaib Akthar. Akhtar had impeded Tendulkar and the crowd rioted, forcing the police to evict the spectators. The match continued in front of an empty stadium.
- Kapil Dev took an ODI hat-trick against the Sri Lankans in 1991 at the ground.
- Harbhajan Singh took a hat-trick against Australia in 2000/01 at the ground. He became the first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket.
- In 2005, Sachin Tendulkar scored his 10,000th run in Test Cricket against Pakistan on this ground making him the second Indian batsman and fifth overall to achieve this feat.
- Eden Gardens hosted the historic 199th (penultimate) Test match of Sachin Tendulkar’s career against West Indies from 6-10 Nov 2013. India defeated West Indies by an innings and 51 runs in 3 days.
- On its 150th anniversary, on 13 November 2014, Eden Gardens witnessed the highest ever score by a batsman in One Day Internationals, a 264 off 173 balls scored by Rohit Sharma during the 4th One Day International of Sri Lanka vs India at the venue.
- On 3 April 2016, in this venue, within a span of hours, the finals of the ICC world cup Twenty20 tournaments for the women and for the men were won by the respective women’s and men’s teams of the West Indies.
- The stadium hosted the 200th and 250th home tests for India in 2005 and 2016 respectively.
Iconic Matches Played at Eden Gardens Kolkata
1962- India Vs England: India gained victory in this match. This was the first match where India beat England in a test match at Eden Gardens after a long period of 10 years. India had won the match by 182 runs thanks to brilliant spin bowling by Salim Durrani ( left arm orthodox) and Chandu Borde (leg break) and Poly Umrigar (off break).
1975- India Vs West Indies: Though India could not win the test series, the third test match in a 5- match series went on to become a legendary victory when India beat West Indies by 85 runs. The match was played against the likes of Sir Andy Roberts, Bernard Julien, Roy Fredericks and Lance Gibbs in the West Indies team, the diminutive Gundappa Viswanath hit a magnificent century and paved the way for India’s win here after 2-0 down in the series.
1993- India Vs South Africa: When the ball was tossed to Sachin Tendulkar by Captain Azaruddin to bowl the ultimate over to defend a paltry 5 runs, it was a shocker to everybody. The iconic win of this Hero Cup final match was pulled off by none other than our own master blaster, Sachin Tendulkar with his miraculous bowling over at the last moment. India won the match by 2 runs.
2001- India Vs Australia: A watershed moment in the history of Indian test cricket. Another iconic match is remembered when India was asked to follow-on and due to the sudden twist pulled off by partnership of V.V.S. Laxman and Rahul Dravid when the first four batsmen took a quick return to the pavilion very early into the match. Rahul and Laxman played the full 4th day without being separated when V.V.S. Laxman hit a marathon 281 runs and Rahul Dravid 180 runs putting 376 runs for the 5th wicket and India won a match that was thought to be lost in the beginning.
2005- India Vs Pakistan: After losing to Pakistan at Mohali in the test series, India went on to win the thrilling match at Eden as well as the entire series thereafter.
2013- India Vs West Indies: This match is termed iconic as it marked the last test match played by Sachin Tendulkar of his career. It marked the end of an era.
2019- India Vs Bangladesh : On 22 November 2019, India’s first ever DAY / NIGHT test match between India and Bangladesh was hosted at Eden Gardens and the game was inaugurated jointly by the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Bannerjee and the President of Bangladesh which India won comfortably by an Innings & 18 runs.