Masks. They were almost the only thing that stood out in the Eden Gardens club house. Ignore them, and in this iconic cricket amphitheater, it might seem like any week will lead to an international tournament.
On Friday night, the mezzanine and the first two floors were buzzing. In the waiting area of key officials’ rooms, people crowded like outfield players around a batter facing a spin on the bend. Free tickets were in demand, otherwise a ticket with any price ( ₹650 and ₹1500) is also fine for Sunday’s game, the first T20I here in three years and the ninth overall, where 70% of the approximate 66,000 capacity will be allowed.
Journalists huddled on either side of the automatic glass sliding door on the ground floor, waiting for the officials – in fact, Surav Ganguly – to come out and speak. Ganguly was in the building after doing what few presidents of the Cricket Control Council of India (BCCI) were capable of – taking a close look at the field.
Ganguly said dew would be a factor. As in this series, where India with a new combination of captain and coach Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid was left in one victory from a clean game. As it was in the T20 World Cup in the UAE, where 29 of 45 games were won by the runner-up teams. This sparked controversy over the importance of the draw, which could again play a big role in the final T20I series of three matches. Of the eight previous T20I tournaments at Eden, five have been won by the first hitting team.
Sharma and Dravid will return to a place that holds fond memories. Well, more for Sharma than Dravid, perhaps because through ODI in November 2005, his team and coach Greg Chappell were booed. It was not only because Ganguly was forced into isolation, he had 159 points in the Ranji Trophy match in Pune that night when India dropped to 188 after losing 10 wickets. It was four years after Dravid defied dehydration and scored 180 points in an epic 376-run race with the VVS Laxman.
Sharma, who has scored 48 and 55 points in this streak, is coming to Eden a few days after the seventh anniversary of his 264 world record here at ODI against Sri Lanka. As now, the streak was won, but over 50,000 won and were rewarded with a 173-ball hit that had 33 fours and nine sixes. No one scored 186 runs through fours and sixes in ODI like Sharma did that day. Several months later, he led the Mumbai Indians to his second IPL title in Eden. He also has a test age (177) on his debut at this stadium and his only ton of IPL.
Little can be said when you’ve won both games in a series with ease. So, will Sharma and Dravid take the opportunity to give the squad members a chance? With another T20 FIFA World Cup taking place next year and Indians not being allowed to play in franchise leagues overseas, Dravid will not be able to host too many games to gain a deeper insight into his team’s strength.
“Nothing beats being in the center,” said Mark Chapman of New Zealand with 63 points in Jaipur. So what are the chances that one or more of Ruturaj Gaikwad – the orange cap winner in the IPL 2021 with 635 wounds – Ishan Kishan, Yuzendra Chahal and Avesh Khan will get the game? “The strength of the bench, these guys are performing consistently, so they are under pressure,” Sharma said after Friday’s seven-wicket victory.
Venkatesh Iyer will play Eden in Indian blue before he does it in purple for Knights Riders of Calcutta (KKR). In his new role as a mid-range bat, Iyer, like KKR teammate Varun Chakaravarti in World T20, did little: he did not play bowling, did not fish, contributed to a slight hesitation in pursuit in Jaipur, and When he came to fight in Ranchi , he didn’t have much to do. The other Iyer in the middle, Shreyas, only played against eight goals.
The middle order was not tested because the openers played well and the bowlers prevented New Zealand from showing big totals. With her fifth century stand, Sharma and K.L. Rahul caught up with the world records of Baba Azam and Mohammed Rizwan in T20I. “We like to fight each other. We are trying to weaken each other, ”Rahul told the official TV channels in Ranchi.
Rahul said that if he is fighting any bowler, Sharma will fight that bowler without Rahul even saying so. Their approach, he says, is usually to see a couple of overs to evaluate the pitch and evaluate the “shots we can play.”
But unlike Azam and Rizwan against India in World T20, none of them stayed until the end. Rahul skied with Tim Southey at a required running speed of less than 5.5, India needed 37 out of 41 deliveries. Sharma was trapped by the slower delivery of Southee when India needed 18 out of 28.
“It was a busy schedule after the T20 FIFA World Cup, I just don’t think we have adapted to the surface as well as we could,” skipper Souti said on Friday. He also promised a “review” and an assessment when they arrive in Calcutta. If New Zealand gets involved in Southey’s conversation, it could be a fitting ending for a series that has been simmering. It would also give Eden, who hosted local T20 tournaments and the Syed Mushtak Ali trophy in 2020-2021 in the surreal silence of an empty stadium and which was the Covid-19 quarantine center, a cause for noise. Again.