The South African cricketer Andre Nel got married during the cricket series against the West Indies in 2003 and took the team bus to go directly to the chapel. After the Kotla test, Harbhajan Singh was praying that Ravichandran Ashwin, would do the same and take the team bus to the venue of the wedding and then further for his honeymoon so that he (Harbhajan) could make a comeback in the Indian team. In fact Bhajji even offered to drive Ashwin down to the Wedding venue. Ashwin refused, and after the wedding, he joined the Indian team immediately before the Eden Garden test match - also joining the distinguished company of Sir Donald Bradman who did something like this in 1932, when he married Jessie Bradman.
The Indian team did to the visiting English team what Karan Thapar does to the guests on his chat show. India also crushed the West Indies team convincingly in back to back test matches. The most shocking scene was the empty stands at the Eden gardens which has triggered off a debate if there is an overdose of cricket. Just a few meters away from the stadium, four men were seen having an animated discussion, who were unanimous in saying that it could not be an overdose of cricket that has resulted in empty stands! A closer look revealed that the four gentlemen were Uday Chopra, Fardeen Khan, Harman Baweja and Tushar Kapoor! Said Harman " When the theatres are empty during our movies , you blame it on our performance...Why can't the media blame it on an overdose of films?...At least it would be an incentive for our families to produce more films."
Some reports in the media said there were only 20,000 people in the stadium. Others said the figure was 200 including the players, support staff, media, and the commentators.
To address to the issue of thin attendance, BCCI decided that test matches will be shifted to smaller venues. Now for some number crunching.The Eden Gardens,Kolkatta has an official capacity of approximately 1.10 lakhs spectators which means the entire population of Grenada would fit into the the stadium! Now if the venue is shifted to a smaller town having a stadium of 20,000 capacity, then the number of spectators would remain the same (assuming there were only 20,000 spectators at the Eden gardens) except that the stadium would look full. But then its the BCCI logic, which is like a plot of a Manmohan Desai film, neither of which you should ever question.
We hear BCCI has a few more ideas on how to get the crowds back to the test matches:
1. Karan Johar and Raj kumar Hirani will be roped in to market the Test match cricket. Karan is proposing to focus on the Pathan brothers, Irfan and Yousuf, with a tagline..."Its all about loving your family". This is likely to get the housewives to the stadium.
Rajkumar Hirani will have a promo on the lines of 3 idiots featuring Praveen kumar, R. Vinay kumar and Munaf Patel. Somewhere in Aligarh, Piyush Chawla was seen kicking himself for missing this golden opportunity.
2. There will be spectator prizes everytime the one of them manage to catch the ball in the stands. Harbhajan will be recalled to the test side so that the batsmen get enough opprtunities to hit the ball into the crowds and generate some T20 type excitement.
3. Free effigies of Vinod Kambli will be distributed in the stadium in the wake of statements he has made about the match fixing recently.
4. Free cellphone talktime of Rs 50/- to every spectator, for everytime Ravi Shastri says "that went like a tracer bullet"
5. As entertainment between sessions, there will be a game of darts, with a life size cut out of Greg Chappell as a dartboard.
6. An option for the spectators,to shift from the regular stands to enclosures having deck beds for taking a nap. (this facility will be provided only during Shivnaraine Chanderpaul's stay at the crease).
Coming back to R. Ashwin, we're informed that the team wanted him to spend his honeymoon at the Eden Gardens itself and the Indian batsmen took it upon themselves to bat till the second day, so that R. Ashwin gets to spend some special moments with his wife. Sehwag almost spoilt the couple's party by returning to the pavillion early and Gambhir added to the disturbance by following Sehwag . The reliable duo of Dravid -Laxman batted and batted and ensured that Ashwin and his newly wed wife weren't disturbed.
While Ravichandran Ashwin romanced his dulhan, VVS laxman continued his romance with the beautiful Eden gardens with his 17th test century and his 5th at the same venue!