Rivals drive down memory lane

Kolkata, Jan. 4 -- Eden Gardens is used to seeing stars descend on Earth. But Thursday was special. A capacity crowd was overawed by the 19 legends from India and Pakistan -- led by the oldest Ajit Wadekar, one of India's successful captains, to the youngest VVS Laxman -- who took a lap of honour in open top jeeps.

It was difficult to judge who got the loudest cheer, Laxman or Ganguly, but what Eden appreciated the most was when former captains Gavaskar and Kapil stepped into the same vehicle.

Eden had barracked the Little Master for dropping Kapil for a Test against England here in 1984-85.

"No Kapil, no Test," the fans had protested. Gavaskar did not play at the Eden again. Time had healed their differences and it was great to see time had healed this difference as well.

Mushtaq Mohammed, who had once held the record of the youngest Test debutant, and Bishan Singh Bedi shared a car and Dilip Vengsarkar took the round with Intikhab Alam.

"It's a historic day here. I met Bedi, Kapil, Ajit. Bishan is a good friend. I met Sunil, we played together for Rest of the World and I also played against him," said Alam.

"Memories are flooding back. It was just awesome to be out here and meet the Pakistan players," said Wadekar.

Laxman played the most significant knock at the Eden, his 281 against Australia in 2001 marking one of the greatest comebacks in Test history.

Ganguly was alone in a jeep and brought up the rear. He was overwhelmed by the response: "Only Eden can do this," he said.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.


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