For the few thousand spectators who turned up on the second day at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium for the Test match between India and New Zealand, it was an experience of a different kind.
With dark clouds hovering around the stadium, forcing a delayed start by 26 minutes because of some precautionary measures in place. But when play did commence, the fans in the stands were in for a surprise when the floodlights were switched on for the first time in this part of the country during a Test match.
The general guidelines for using this option is that if in the opinion of the umpires, natural light is deteriorating to an unfit level, they shall authorise the ground authorities to use the available artificial lighting so that the match can continue in acceptable conditions.
Interestingly, one of the biggest supporters of this, former India captain Saurav Ganguly, was sitting in the TV commentary box when the lights were on.
Incidentally, Ganguly as chairman of the BCCI technical committee has recommended this option during Test matches in India.
It was ‘Dadagiri’ with a difference at the northern end of the stadium. Every time Sourav Ganguly came out for a break or at the end of the commentary stint, there were a beeline of fans waiting to get a glimpse of this great from Kolkata. This kind of popularity not many out there in the Indian team enjoy. The sheer touch of class and the way he conducts himself even now makes him a huge hit amongst the fans.
A concerned HCA
Unlike in the past, HCA officials seem to be more than concerned about the plight of the ordinary spectator in the stands. Secretary M.V. Sridhar personally inspected the stands and ensured that the snacks and cool drinks were being sold at affordable prices.
When someone pointed out lack of water in the northern stand, Sridhar was quick to realise that the ‘artificial’ scarcity was created because of the nexus between the vendors of water and the cool drinks as the latter wanted to capitalise on shortage of drinking water. But, even this was corrected with a sense of responsibility by HCA.
So was the case with HCA joint secretary Seshadri Venkateshwaran and his team, who were going all out to make sure there is no duplication of tickets to avoid any embarrassment.
In a way, Sridhar has had a decent start on the first two days in his Test debut as HCA secretary!