Wednesday, April 14

Paratroopers to deliver pink balls to Eden; HIV+ children to usher in players on field

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The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) is leaving no stone unturned to make the first day-night Test on Indian soil a memorable one. The officials have lined up a slew of surprises during the match and the first one will come even before the coin is tossed. Paratroopers will fly in and hand over pink balls to the captains before the toss on Friday. And then, the two teams will be ushered in by children suffering from HIV. These children will also get an opportunity to play cricket with a soft pink ball with some of the stalwarts.

“There will be a six-over-a-side match between the children and ex-cricketers and commentators during the first break on the opening day. It is going to be a big moment for these children,” said Kallol Ghosh, founder and secretary of Offer India, which works to provide shelter and dignified life and living to children suffering from HIV.

Pink has emerged as the central theme of the historic match at the iconic stadium with stands and corridors getting hues of pink and cricket graffiti. A giant size pink ball, too, is floating above the ground, signifying the start of an important shift in the five-day format. The event has its own mascot — Pinku-Tinku — to regale children.

“The paratroopers will fly in and land in the middle of the ground to hand over the pink ball to the two captains in a ceremony before the toss. There is a lot of excitement around the pink ball and the day-night Test and several activities are being planned around it to mark the historical occasion,” said a CAB office bearer.

CAB has also invited some government and private schools to bring their students to the Eden Gardens to watch the match. “We are planning and executing a series of activities to build excitement around the historic match. The activities are aimed at generating interest and attracting more and more people to watch the game,” said CAB secretary Abhishek Dalmia.

Plans are afoot to light up Shahid Minar and several Maidan clubs with pink lights. “Several skyscrapers around Eden Gardens will also be lit up in pink and have three-dimensional mapping signifying the historical event,” said an office-bearer.

Source: Times of India

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