Bangalore: For four hours on Saturday (August 17) evening, the M Chinnaswamy Stadium rang out with laughter and applause as the Karnataka State Cricket Association's Platinum Jubilee celebrations reached a crescendo. The rain that has poured down on Bangalore for the last few days stayed away long enough for a galaxy of cricket stars, past and present, to be drenched only in nostalgia and appreciation.
The evening, in which close to 2200 people took their seats, in the stands and under a marquee, on the outfield of the famous ground, was underpinned by camaraderie and genuine affection. One moment, Sourav Ganguly was helping BS Chandrasekhar up the stairs on to the stage, and at another, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sachin Tendulkar were in warm embrace. One moment, Rahul Dravid was in conversation with Gundappa Viswanath and at another, Bishan Singh Bedi was sharing a joke with Erapalli Prasanna.
The format of the programme was one that kept cricket at the forefront, with several generations of cricketers, administrators, scorers, statisticians and umpires taking centrestage to receive awards for their contribution to the game. The procession was interrupted most pleasantly by on-stage discussions, the first of which involved the chief guest of the evening, Sir Richard Hadlee, arguably the greatest seam bowler ever to play the game, talking about the nuances of his art with Javagal Srinath, Roger Binny and Venkatesh Prasad.