The Mumbai Ranji heroes — Sachin Tendulkar, Ajit Agarkar and Zaheer Khan — did not land till late on Tuesday evening and the reinstated Prince of the soil, Sourav Ganguly, was allowed rest. The rest of the India squad, here for the first match of the four-match ODI series against Sri Lanka, trained at the Eden Gardens from afternoon till evening.
All eyes were on Virender Sehwag and Munaf Patel. After a rather disappointing show in South Africa, both had been dropped for the one-dayers against the West Indies. They have been given another chance.
Whether they get an opportunity to prove themselves on Thursday is not final, but both should be raring to go to confirm themselves on the flight to the West Indies.
Munaf did not appear his old ‘express’ self and neither did Sehwag hit too many to the electronic scoreboard. In fact, Sehwag looked a little uncomfortable against some left-arm spin from a net bowler. Munaf did not beat the bat regularly either. But then, one good show — if given the chance — could change all that.
Robin Uthappa, who has emerged as Sehwag’s major competitor, says there are no comparisons with the Delhi dazzler. “There is no comparison. Sehwag is a great batsman. It is very heartening just to be a part of this dressing room,” he said.
The third person — apart from Munaf and Sehwag — who was being followed around was Yuvraj Singh. Yuvraj didn’t look to push himself to the edge during fielding but his bat seemed solid enough to quell all doubts of him being unfit.
But despite the star cast only just starting to roll out — the Jayasuriyas and Jayawardenes did not start trickling in till 6:30 pm — the Cricket Association of Bengal looked like a fortress.
New CAB president Prasun Mukherjee said this was a golden opportunity to revive Eden’s reputation. “Crowd trouble will be made a thing of the past,” he said.
Greg Chappell, unlike the last time he was here, was waved at by the motley turnout as ‘let’s forgive and forget’ seemed to be the mantra.