Veteran Indian and Pakistani skippers feted

Published: Saturday, November 13, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Kolkata:A galaxy of cricketing stars descended on the Mecca of Indian cricket at the Eden gardens here today as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) celebrated its platinum jubilee fondly tracing back a journey that began with Team India's first-ever match against England at the Lords in 1932.

A packed stadium had an eyeful of legendary Indian and Pakistani skippers -- Intiaz Ahmed, Hanif Mohammed, Nari Contractor, Chandu Borde, Intikhab Alam, S Venkataraghavan, Bishen Singh Bedi, Gundappa Viswanath, Ajit Wadekar, Zaheer Abbas, Imran Khan, Dilip Vengsarkar, Kapil Dev, Ramiz Raja, Ravi Shastri and Waqar Younis, who were feted according to their seniority in Test debut.

The platinum jubilee match between India and Pakistan also had its share of past and present captains -- Inzamam-ul-Haq, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid as also the match referee Clive Lloyd, former West Indies skipper.

Among former Indian captains absent at the grand show, were Sunil Gavaskar, away at an ICC meeting in Dubai, and Mohammad Azharuddin, who was not invited as he is facing a life ban.

When Union Sports Minister Sunil Dutt handed over the platinum jubilee memento, embossed with BCCI insignia on a silver salver, a tie and exquisitely handcrafted kashmiri shawls to the celebrities during the dinner-break of the day and night encounter, a packed stadium broke into cheers.

The Board came into being in 1931 and sent its squad to England the very next year with C K Nayudu as its captain.

BCCI, that took its fledgling steps with Delhi-based Antony D'Mellow as its first administrator, later had at its helm of affairs illustrious names like Pankaj Gupta, Maharaja of Gaekwad, M A Chidambaram, R Sriram, Chinnaswamy, the Maharaja of Gwalior, Biswanath Dutta and Raj Singh Dungarpur, who incidentally was among the celebrity guests tonight.

As a show of solidarity, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan presented a trophy to the BCCI, on whose behalf it was accepted by the union minister.

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