A host of former India and Pakistan players, including the legendary Sunil Gavaskar and Intikhab Alam, were Thursday feted by the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) during the ODI between the two teams at the Eden Gardens to celebrate the silver jubilee of the ground staging its first ever ODI.
The former players, who included Kapil Dev, Bishen Singh Bedi, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman from India and Wasim Akram, Rameez Raja and Mushtaq Mohammad from Pakistan, were given a lap of honour around the ground on open jeeps decorated with flowers as the capacity crowd gave a standing ovation.
The biggest cheers, however, were for Laxman, who had made the ground his own by playing several masterly knocks, and, of course, local hero Ganguly.
Roars of "VVS VVS" and "Sourav Sourav" filled the air as the cavalcade of cars carrying all the greats moved around the stadium.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the guest of honour, handed a commemorative tie, a plaque, a shawl and a cheque of Rs.One lakh to each of the former cricketers with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Zaka Ashraf and CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya among those present.
India and Pakistan had clashed when the hallowed venue staged its maiden ODI Feb 18, 1987. Pakistan had won the thriller by two wickets, thanks to a 36-ball 72 by Salim Malik.