Children add dash of colour to stands

Children enjoying opening day's play at the Eden GardensChildren enjoying opening day's play at the Eden Gardens

KOLKATA: They looked like the proverbial yellow submarine; these laughing, giggling, wide-eyed children who brought colour and vibrancy to the otherwise large stretches of barren gallery on the opening day of the India-New Zealand Test match at the iconic Eden Gardens on Friday.

Organised by the Lions’ Club, these 4500 odd underprivileged kids came from the city and its suburbs. For them it was the first visit to the Mecca of Indian cricket and they were overawed by the sight of the gigantic structure that held in its brace the lush green field manicured to a perfection in the centre.

“Eden is so big. I never realised it on television,” is how Achinta Sarkar reacted when asked how he liked being at the stadium.

They swayed and waved at every ball like a host of golden daffodils that suddenly sprouted out of a sea of concrete. India didn’t bat well in the first session, their man Virat Kohli got out cheaply but they enjoyed cricket.

“Virat got out. I am so sad. But I am watching cricket so close for the first time. I have asked for permission from my supervisor if I can stay till the end of the day,” said Raju Kundu, who came from Howrah.

A group of girls sat together enjoying the game. Smita, who studies in class IV and is from Liluah, said: “It is great fun. This is my first time. And I am enjoying it thoroughly.”

Kids had come from Howrah, Hooghly, North and South 24 Pargans and Kolkata, under an initiative taken by Lions’ Club and supported by Cricket Association of Bengal to promote the sport among the kids. And what an effect these young hearts had!

(Arindam Basu with inputs from Aindrila Das and Promit Shome)