In what will be a historic occasion for Indian cricket, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to invite all former captains to celebrate the country's '500th Test match' to be played against New Zealand in Kanpur from September 22.
To make the occasion more memorable, a specially minted silver coin with 500th Test embossed on it is also being prepared for the toss.
Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) president Rajeev Shukla said, "The BCCI wants to felicitate all the former captains during the Test match. Green Park is one of the first four Test venues in India along with Chepauk, Wankhede and Eden Gardens. The BCCI is making all necessary arrangements for the same."
Former skippers Nari Contractor, Chandu Borde, Dilip Vengsarkar, Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Krishnamachari Srikkanth are expected to attend.
And in a surprise move, the Indian cricket board has also extended an invitation to Mohammad Azharuddin to attend the historic 500th Test match and the former captain has accepted it.
Azhar was imposed a life ban for his alleged involvement in match-fixing in 2000. While Azhar had been acquitted by the court, the BCCI has so far avoided inviting him for official events.
Asked about Azhar being extended invitation, senior BCCI functionary Rajeev Shukla said that he saw nothing wrong in it. "He is also a former India captain," Shukla said.
"The BCCI along with UPCA will also host a dinner for the Indian captains, where both India and New Zealand teams will be present," Shukla added. Besides this, the BCCI and the UPCA are also preparing T-shirts with '500th Test' written on it for under-privileged children who have been invited to watch the Test match in Kanpur. The Uttar Pradesh Government is also working to make the occasion memorable. Recently, Secretary (Sports) Anita Bhatnagar Jain visited the Green Park Stadium and expressed her satisfaction over the preparations. Besides the three Tests, India will also play a five-match ODI series against the Kane Williamson-led side, starting from October 16 in Dharamshala.