May it be Eden for Ganguly
Eden Gardens in Kolkata will host the first one-day international between India and England on Saturday. The series promises to be as enchanting as the atmosphere at the Eden Gardens. This venue has the highest crowd capacity in the country and the outfield is as good as the best one could find anywhere in the World.
The Kolkata crowd being sports crazy, one can expect a full house what with the local lad Ganguly leading the national side. Even under normal circumstances, the Bengalis like to egg the home side on. One thing to bear in mind though is that they are not too tolerant when dealing with failures. With the Indian skipper hard up for runs, the crowd would be behind him and rooting for his success with the bat. The Bengalis are aware as much as Ganguly himself that it is about time he puts up runs on the board.
It was Geoffrey Boycott who dubbed Ganguly, the `Prince of Kolkata', and indeed, the Prince will be under considerable pressure as he walks out to bat with Tendulkar. Any captain in international cricket is prone to anxiety on the eve of a game, but in the case of Ganguly it is all the more greater as this series is a big one and may well dictate his future. The shorter version of the game has proved to be his saviour and his success in the one-dayers has caused the selectors to overlook his failures in the Tests. Quite obviously, he is going through a very lean phase and the Eden Gardens is the ideal venue for him to reassure himself and the people who hold him in high esteem by notching up a ton.
The Eden Gardens revived Azharuddin's career in 1993 when he was in the same situation as Ganguly is in today. It was again the same venue, which took Laxman to the pinnacle of his career. Ganguly has grown up batting at the Eden for most part of his career and the familiar atmosphere and the support would mean more to him now than before. The stage is set and there is hardly any time left for the all-important series to begin. One can only hope that he does not put the selectors in a delicate situation of having to sit and deliberate about him. The Prince of Kolkata is a pleasure to watch when on song and hopefully he will continue to entertain for a fair while to come.