If you have ever thought what a structure as large as a colosseum could be used for at this Dane age, then the answer would me the Eden Garden Stadium for Cricket. It is said to be the crickets answer to the Colosseum. Eden Gardens Stadium is the second largest cricket stadiums in the world and the largest and oldest in India as per the seating.
The stadium was established in the year 1864 and holds a special place of interest in the history of Indian Cricket. It was named after the oldest parks in Kolkata “Eden Gardens” which is adjacent to it. The garden was created by Governor General Lord Auckland, with an intention to turn it into a circus and garden. The gardens were initially named as “Auckland Circus Garden”. The stadium is built between Babughat and Fort Williams, in present day it is located at the BBD Bagh area of the city right opposite the Calcutta High Court.
The seating capacity of the stadium was over 1 lakh but in the present day, it can seat upto 68,000 people. It is home ground for the Bengal cricket team and the Kolkata Knight Riders who are the IPL team. The stadium is also a venue for the Test, ODI and T20I matches of the Indian National Cricket Team. It first hosted a test match in 1934 when India was still in its infancy stage of cricket, where Douglas Jardine’s team took victory within four days. Ever since this match, the stadium has been treated as a place of pilgrimage for international Cricketers. It hosted its next match only in 1987 which was an ODI against Pakistan. It was here in Eden Gardens that South Africa played their first match after 20 years of Suspension.
The stadium has the most vocal and passionate crowds that come to witness matches. The crowd however has also created a ruckus, an example of which is when Sachin Tendulkar had a run out with Pakistan in the Asian Test Championship match. It is said that “A Cricketer’s cricketing education is not complete till he has played in front of a packed Eden Garden”.
The stadium has hosted close to 30 ODIs, 45 Test matches, and 6 T20I matches. It underwent a renovation in 2011 which decreased its seating capacity. The stands in the Stadium are named after local cricketers and Soldiers and also cricket administrators. To get a true sense of this place and spirit of the game it is best to visit while a match is taking place here.