Cricket ~~Colosseum~~ gears up for battle royale

Published: Tuesday, February 6, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Kolkata:The game has returned to the Colosseum after a span of over an year and the people are just lapping it up.

Along with the MCG, the Eden Gardens remains cricket's answer to the Colosseum. It first hosted a Test back in the days of India's cricketing infancy, with Douglas Jardine's team easing to victory inside four days in 1934 and since then have remained as one of the most revered holy-grounds of the game.

The gladiators form Sri Lanka and India are ready to rub the excitement as Eden witnesses an international outing after November 2005 when South Africa won here against the hosts and the men in blue were jeered off the ground.

The BCCI's wrangling with CAB's former President Jagmohan Dalmiya meant Eden was being left out of its share of pie during the Champions' Trophy, something that was conceptualised by the man himself while he was the ICC president.

However, with the decks being cleared for the first ODI between the two countries in the four match series, the players are ready to strut their stuff before one of the most passionate and vocal crowds of the game.

The CAB officials also are leaving no stones unturned to make sure that the game became a huge success having taken up the challenge of organizing it in just a little over two week's time after Pune failed to hold the tie.

Gloating over the unexpected allotment of an ODI at the Eden Gardens, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) promised fool-proof security that would leave no chance for any repetition of the incident at the Bhubaneswar airport where Indian coach Greg Chappell was pushed from behind by a fan.

''We are used to handling bigger and more enthusiastic crowds.

Such incidents will not happen here,'' CAB President Prasun Mukherjee told newspersons here.

The measures also look to be unique in some ways. The stringent security measures include water pouches not being allowed to the galleries and selling 15 per cent less tickets to give the fans more elbow space and the security personnel lesser crowd to handle.

While the tickets of Rs 150, 550 and 700 have vanished on the very first day, a few in the Rs 1200 denomination category left are expected to etherise as soon as Gate-4 of Eden opens up today.

To clear the rush of spectators to the cricket match between India and Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens on Feb 8, Eastern Railway will run three special suburban trains. The first train will leave Princep Ghat at 10.50 pm and run up to Naihati.

The second train will leave BBD Bag at 11.05 pm and proceed to Barasat. A third train will also go to Barasat, leaving Princep Ghat at 11.20 pm. Metro services have been extended by an hour and 100 buses will leave Eden Gardens for various directions after the match gets over.

The Mohun Bagan ground floodlights will also be left burning on February eight to illuminate the whole area.

While the stadium has been renovated and security gadgets placed at every nook and corner, the lush green field itself looks like a pleasing lullaby awaiting the last humdrum before India's Cup campaign begins in the Caribbeans.


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