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Hurrah Yuvi, hello Bhajji

(From left) Eden friends Spandan Pal, Shashanka Biswas, Sushovan Sengupta, Debasish Banerjee and Pradyut Burman on Wednesday.

When the country’s most expensive IPL cricketer walked out to bat in the country’s largest stadium on Wednesday the whoop from the Eden Gardens galleries didn’t carry across the Hooghly, but Rs 14-crore man Yuvraj Singh did get full-throated hurrahs.

Calcutta’s cricket connoisseurs and die-hards turned up at the floodlit Eden to cheer Yuvi and “son of the soil” Harbhajan Singh, who described the ground as his “mom”.

A cricket-crazy couple, a young cricketer who bowled to Yuvi at nets, a father-son duo, a group of youngsters and elderly spectators were among the 1,000 who watched Railways play Punjab in the last quarterfinal of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Railways won by 137 runs to set up a Friday semi-final clash with Bengal.

The couple

She likes Virat Kohli, he swears by Yuvi. The Rais from Ballygunge, Vibhu and Ayushi, were in the Club House hoping for a big knock from the Chandigarh southpaw. Yuvraj was run out for a patient 48-ball 15.

Vibhu and Ayushi Rai from Ballygunge

Never mind! Ayushi’s digicam captured it all for Facebook and posterity. “It would have been better had Yuvraj scored a century. Hurrah Yuvraj,” said Vibhu, an advocate.

Yuvraj Jr

They bat left-handed, bowl off spin and want to captain the India team. Meet 15-year-old Debojyoti from Siliguri, an all-rounder in Bengal’s under-16 squad, who watched the match with dad Dibakar Ghosh.

Debojyoti Ghosh with father Dibakar. The youngster bowled to Yuvi at nets. Pictures by Bibhash Lodh

Debojyoti emulates Yuvraj’s style and was super excited when he was asked to bowl to his hero at nets on Wednesday morning.

“We shook hands after nets.” Oh boy, did he?!

Ghosh senior hopes to see his son play a Test match in an Indian jersey at Eden, “the ultimate honour for a cricketer”.

Camaraderie

A group of six friends was glued to the action from the first ball. They cheered, discussed strategy and shook hands once the match got over.

Shashanka Biswas, 64, Spandan Pal, 18, Pradip Chakravarty, 57, Sushovan Sengupta, 30, Debasish Banerjee, 21, and Pradyut Burman, 32. Cricket, no doubt, is ageless. They met in Block-L of Eden and bonded.

Sushovan, an SBI executive, can’t wait to meet his new friends at the semis. “Great to see youngsters coming to the stadium for domestic matches,” said Biswas, a retired SBI official.

Connoisseur

He skipped an appointment to watch Harbhajan bowl the doosra. His heart is with Bengal but he won’t mind a warm hello to Bhajji and the other boys from Punjab.

Amarpreet Singh, a 31-year-old executive with a private firm, has never missed a match at Eden except for the Laxman-Dravid epic where Bhajji netted a hattrick.

“I still regret… I had my school exams.”