Mamta Banerjee meets Team India at Eden Gardens

Mamta Banerjee (R) in conversation with Sachin Tendulkar during the post-match presentation ceremony AFP

Kolkata: Nov 17, 2011

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday descended on the famed Eden Gardens and feted the Indian cricket team for its emphatic win over the West Indies, stumping captain M.S. Dhoni with a googly: “This victory is as much mine as yours!”

Banerjee, who arrived at the ground a few minutes before India carved out an innings and 15-run win to pocket the three-match series 2-0, handed over the Man of the Match award to V.V.S. Laxman.

Banerjee, wearing her trademark white cotton sari and rubber slippers, seemed at ease interacting with the players after she was escorted to the ground by Cricket Association of Bengal president Jagmohan Dalmiya and joint secretary Biswarup Dey.

Seeing the chief minister, the Indian players quickly came out of the dressing room to shake hands with her.

Tendulkar, who was last in the queue, had taken off his cap in deference to “didi”.

According to Dey, Banerjee herself took a few steps, went to the batting genius and said in jest: “I know why you have not scored your 100th (international century) at the Eden. You have kept it for your hometown Mumbai.”

Tendulkar seemed all smiles. “She then turned to Dhoni, and said ‘You have come to my state. This victory is as much mine as yours’,” Dey said.

Banerjee had a photo session with the Indian team. When former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri – scheduled to compere the ceremony – requested her to come to the makeshift podium, Banerjee said: “No, I have to go to them”, and headed for the West Indies players waiting some distance away.

She then went and shook hands with the West Indies players.

The ceremony over, Banerjee was coming out of the ground with Dhoni by her side when some shutterbugs asked her to pose with the Indian captain.

Banerjee immediately obliged, flashing the “V” sign. Dhoni followed suit. The photographers could not have wanted more.

It was time for didi to disappear into the Club House and then back to the state secretariat Writers’ Buildings. (IANS)