When Mohammed Shami began his demolition job on the West Indies batting line-up yesterday, the visitors weren't the only ones worried about the Test coming to a premature end. With every passing wicket, the fans' cheers were accompanied by an increasingly saddening realisation that it was probably going to be the last time that the Eden Gardens faithful would get to see Sachin Tendulkar on the field.
The disappointment was felt most by the Cricket Association of Bengal, which in a bid to provide Tendulkar a grand farewell, had planned for three aircrafts to shower 199 kg of rose petals - or roughly 400000 flowers - over the prize-distribution area, creating a two-inch thick carpet of petals.
"Our aircraft are two-seater Cessna-152 light-engine planes capable of carrying around 30kg of flowers at a time," Saket Agarwal of Trans Bharat Aviation told Metro. "We would have made more than one sortie each to airdrop the 199kg of flowers. It would have been such a spectacle."
The CAB officials had pulled nearly every possible string in their efforts to pull this off. Besides getting permission from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, and clearance from air traffic control at Kolkata airport, the government also had to give its approval. This, according to a CAB official, "isn't possible over a phone call".
"We were looking forward to this occasion as a lot of hard work had gone behind arranging this ceremony for Sachin," CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey said. "That we had to cut it short is a setback."