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Tendulkar to skip felicitation

Calcutta: When in Calcutta, how can you miss a cruise on the Hooghly!

The Pakistan team, who will be playing the second one-dayer of the three-match series at the Eden on Thursday, wished to go on a river cruise on Wednesday. Late on Tuesday though, word from the Pakistan camp was that there would be no cruise.

A senior police official said at 8pm that they hadn’t “received anything in writing”.

“Once we do get it, we will take stock of the vessel on which they can travel and what other arrangements are needed to be put in place,” the official said.

However, an hour after that a member of the Pakistan contingent said that nobody would be going on a cruise.

While the security and logistics had to be worked out, the request did take some by surprise. State sports minister Madan Mitra refrained from comment, saying it fell under the jurisdiction of the “external affairs ministry”.

Meanwhile, Sachin Tendulkar has expressed his inability to attend the felicitation of the Indian and Pakistan players, at Eden Gardens, on Thursday.

President Pranab Mukherjee will also not be present.

According to CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya, The Master is “tied up with family commitments” till the day of the match and so won’t be able to attend the felicitation.

The legends who will be felicitated include Pakistan’s Mushtaq Mohammed, Sadiq Mohammed, Intikhab Alam, Imtiaz Ahmed, Wasim Akram, Ramiz Raja, Inzamam-ul Haq and Shoaib Malik.

The Indian legends who will be felicitated include Ajit Wadekar, Bishan Singh Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Viswanath, Dilip Vengsarkar, Kapil Dev, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Ravi Shastri, Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

The felicitation will take place during the innings break.

Each of the players will be presented with a silver salver, a tie, a shawl and Rs 1 lakh by chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The players will be paraded on open vehicles around the ground following which the presentations will be made.

Dalmiya said that they were trying to rope in three more players to the list to make it 25 as the Eden was celebrating its silver jubilee of one-day cricket.

Both India and Pakistan played the first ODI at the Eden on February 18, 1987 when Salim Malik’s 72 off 36 balls took Pakistan to a two-wicket victory as Krishnamachari Srikkanth’s century went in vain.

The CAB is expecting a full house on Thursday with tickets being a scarce commodity.

The legends are expected to arrive in the city in batches from Wednesday. Sadiq Mohammed was among the first to arrive and was present at the Eden during Pakistan's practice on Tuesday.

The former opener recalled playing the Eden Test of January 1980. It was also Asif Iqbal's farewell Test.

“I remember playing in front of 90,000 people… An experience of a lifetime… The farewell Asif received was just unbelievable… I would say Asif chose his farewell venue well…”

He was all praise for Nasir Jamshed, the centurion in the last match in Chennai.

“Nasir is technically very sound. To me, he’s a better batsman.

“He has the tendency to play long innings and carry his bat throughout, a great quality of an opener.”