The Eden Gardens has been the romantic home of Indian cricket for years. With the BCCI based out of the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, it has become the official home of Indian cricket over the oast decade or so. But the historic relevance and significance of the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, to Indian cricket and its fans, cannot be denied.
As the hallowed turf gets ready to host India’s first ever day/night Test against Bangladesh next month, let’s take a trip down memory lane to look at the several historic firsts that the stadium has seen.
Eden is the longest surviving Test ground in Asia. The stadium hosted its first match in 1934 between India and England. The ground in Kolkata also hosted the first World Cup final outside England.
Cricket World Cup made its debut in 1975 with England hosting the first three editions in 1975, 1979 and 1983. However, in 1987, India and Pakistan were handed the responsibility of hosting the World Cup and the final was played between England and Australia was played at the Eden Gardens.
Then the ground scripted yet another historic first in 1999 as it hosted the first-ever Asian Test Championship match between India and Pakistan. The Asian Test Championship was a cricket tournament contested between the Test-playing nations of Asia: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
It has so far been held twice–1998-99 and 2001-02. Pakistan won the inaugural edition while Sri Lanka emerged victorious in the second edition.
BCCI president Ganguly had been very vocal about hosting day/night Tests in India to attract audience. Last week, Ganguly had said: “We all are thinking about this. We will do something about it. I am a big believer of day/night Test matches, I do not know when will that happen. Till the time I am around, I will keep pushing about it. I must say, Virat Kohli, is agreeable to it. Once the captain of India agrees to it, life will become easier”.
“Yes you need to maintain the history of Test cricket, but you need to take the game forward. I am a firm believer of day/night Test matches, it can attract the audience to the stadiums. T20 cricket is seriously challenging the Test cricket, steps need to be taken,” he added.
Now as the day/night Test inches closer, one can expect the crowd to come out in big numbers and help revive Test cricket in the country.