Brian Lara laments not playing a Test at Eden Gardens
Brian Lara was in Kolkata on a special invitation from the CAB to watch the last two days of the first Test between India and the West Indies, which however got over in three days with the hosts emerging comfortable winners.
West Indian batting legend Brian Lara on Sunday lamented that he could never play a Test match at the historic Eden Gardens and made a suggestion to CAB officials that if a veterans match, including Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, could be organised here in the future.
Lara was here on a special invitation from the CAB to watch the last two days of the first Test between India and the West Indies, which however got over in three days with the hosts emerging comfortable winners.
"Lara lamented that he has not played any Test at the majestic Eden Gardens. He suggested us to organise an exhibition cricket match for the veterans involving himself and the Indian duo of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly," CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey said.
"In a lighter vein he told us to prepare a 'batting-friendly' so that Tendulkar would score 200-plus runs, Ganguly 150 and 100-odd runs for him... It was unfortunate that he could not watch the Test match here but he was very happy to be here."
During his glittering 16-year international career, Lara has played three ODIs at the Eden but has never been part of a Test match.
Lara also went to the dressing rooms and appeared emotional.
"With no match, and today being a Sunday, we're closed. But he's so kind that he wanted to come and see Eden Gardens. It's a memorable day for Bengal cricket."
Lara, accompanied by a friend, spent about 15 minutes at the ground, had look at the pitch and was happy to oblige the Cricket Association of Bengal officials and the Eden groundsmen with photo-ops.
Forced to alter his plans after India's quick win, Lara last night asked the CAB to take him to the Mother House.
"He paid his tribute to Mother Teresa spending some time at the Mother House on AJC Bose Road.
"We also took him to the ancestral house of Swami Vivekananda on Simla Street in north Kolkata," Dey added. The CAB was overwhelmed to see Lara's knowledge about the city.
"Honestly, I never had an opportunity to meet the great Brian Lara. I always knew him as a great cricketer. But today I found that he has got good knowledge about Kolkata and Indian culture.
"He knew that every year we observe a blood donation camp in the name of Sir Frank Worrell who had saved Nari Contractor's life by donating blood (in the 1961-62 tour to the Caribbean islands)."
Lara also posed for shutterbugs near the wax statue of Tendulkar at the Eden Gardens.
Lara is slated to meet Ganguly during a talk show being organised by the CAB.