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IPL dream comes true for 20 underprivileged children

Kids ride Mexican wave on Eden Gardens debut

Debraj Mitra | Published 27.05.22, 09:58 AM
The children at the Eden Gardens for the IPL match on Tuesday

The children at the Eden Gardens for the IPL match on Tuesday

Sourced by The Telegraph

Mexican wave for one. The carpet-like ground for another. The pink hair of Shimron Hetmyer, the Guyanese power hitter, for a third.

An NGO that runs a school for street children had arranged an Eden Gardens trip for around 20 students on Tuesday to watch the IPL qualifier.


The students left the school on Rowland Road in south Kolkata in a bus. But the bus dropped them off on Mayo Road, which meant the group had to walk over a kilometre. But the kids were too excited to be daunted by the prospect of the long walk.

It was the first time at the stadium for most of the children. 

For a 13-year-old girl, the Mexican wave, synonymous with the Eden Gardens, was the highlight of the day. 

“I had seen it on the TV. But to be able to take part in one was like a dream,” the girl told The Telegraph a day later.

Sujata Sen, CEO of Future Hope, the NGO that organised the trip, said the tickets were booked as soon as the online window opened.

“Eden hosted an IPL match after a long time. We did not want to take chances and booked 24 tickets as soon as the window opened,” she said.

Students who play cricket got preference. 

For a boy, a student of Class VI, being able to see Hetmyer from close quarters was the most memorable experience. He was fielding in the deep, near the gallery where the Future Hope team was. 

“I like his hairstyle. But more than that, I like his sixes,” said the boy, an all-rounder who bowls off-spin and bats right handed up the order.

Three volunteers from the UK were part of the team. Among them were two teenagers. Joe Mitchell, 18, has finished high school at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire. An all-rounder himself and a “Ben Stokes wannabe”, Joe was keen to see Jos Butler in action at the “iconic stadium”.

Butler, playing for Rajasthan Royals, scored 89 off 56 balls against Gujarat Titans. But he survived edges and rode dropped catches. 

“I was probably his good luck charm,” said Joe.

Imogen Sharkey, another volunteer, has completed schooling from the Rugby School in Warwickshire. Last summer, she captained the school side.
Imogen, a fast bowler, said the Eden experience was unforgettable.

“The stadium looks much bigger in front of the naked eye than on TV. The atmosphere was unparalleled,” 
she said.

Last updated on 27.05.22, 09:58 AM

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