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Ringing a bell: From England to India and Bangladesh

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Bell_ringing_CricketEvery game at the iconic Lord’s Cricket Stadium begins with the ringing of the bell. This tradition, introduced in the year 2007, sees an international cricketer, administrator or other well-known figure from the cricket fraternity ringing the bell to initiate proceedings. Located outside the Bowlers’ Bar of the Lord’s Pavilion, it is rung to signal start of play.

It is a matter of huge respect to be invited to ring the bell, especially for a Test match. It seems like Lord’s took a cue from the tradition of the Church to invite the faithful for worship.

Some Indians who have had the honour of ringing the bell at Lord’s include the Nawab of Pataudi and Sunil Gavaskar in 2007, Dilip Vengsarkar in 2011, Rahul Dravid, Kapil Dev and Sourav Ganguly in 2014, and Sanjay Manjrekar in 2018.

Sachin Tendulkar was invited to ring the bell ahead of the second Test between India and England last month, but had to walk back, dejected, as rain washed out the day’s play.

In 2016, Sir Garfield Sobers rang the bell in memory of Mohammed Ali during day two of the 3rd Test match between England and Sri Lanka. Similarly, many other eminent cricketers from all nations have got this opportunity.

It can be noted that it's not just cricket where the ringing of bells is practiced. During the Torch Relay of the London Olympics, bells were rung to celebrate the passing of the Olympic torch.

Eden Gardens followed suit

In 2016, another iconic venue – the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, adopted the bell-ringing tradition. Kapil Dev rung the bell just before the Indian and New Zealand teams walked out for the national anthems on the opening day of the second Test of the series, which was also the 250th Test match on Indian soil.

Sourav Ganguly, the president of Cricket Association of Bengal, stated that every morning of the Test match, the bell would be rung by a cricketer from either side or ex-players. He himself rang it on Day 3.

“This is the dream-child of Sourav. Like every office bearer has some achievement during his term at the association, to install a bell and start a tradition of ringing it at the start of each day’s play in Tests has been one of Sourav’s,” a Cricket Association of Bengal official had said.

Mumbai followed too...

The Cricket Club of India (CCI), which recently hosted the fourth One-Day International (ODI) between India and Windies, saw Sachin Tendulkar ringing an uninstalled bell, i.e., a small bell was handed over to Tendulkar before the start of the game. The October 29 match was originally allotted to Wankhede Stadium, but was later shifted to CCI’s Brabourne Stadium due to financial constraints. CCI thus hosted its first international match after a hiatus of nine years, and chose to mark the return of international cricket by having Tendulkar ring a bell.

“It will be a unique experience not only for the cricketers of both the teams, but for the cricket crazy Mumbaikars as well,” said a CCI representative.

Bangladesh joined the list as well...

The “five-minute bell” was the biggest attraction of the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, which made its Test debut when hosts Bangladesh took on Zimbabwe in the first of the two-match series. This was an international debut for the venue as well, since it hadn’t hosted any Test matches before. Made in Dhaka, the bell had been placed in front of the Grand Stand and the players’ dressing room. It was rung by former Bangladesh skipper Akram Khan.

So far, the venue has hosted seven T20I games, six of them during the ICC World T20 in 2014 and one in February this year between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Looks like it is only a matter of time before we see other cricket playing nations too to install a bell at their best venue.



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