Indian players take a break during a drinks interval at...

Indian players take a break during a drinks interval at the India-Bangladesh warm-up match at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in Eisenhower Park on Saturday. Credit: Newsday/Nirmal Mitra

Daily Point

Blakeman's World Cup tournament underway

They came in droves to Eisenhower Park on Saturday, decked out in their flashiest cricket fan gear — Team India and Bangladesh T-shirts and colorful caps and shades. Some were draped in the nations’ flags, ready to drench themselves in an experience they’d been missing since emigrating to the U.S.

Some 8,000 cricket fans poured out of shuttle buses and into the 34,000-seat temporary Nassau County International Cricket Stadium to watch a warm-up game between India and Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup Cricket tournament.

While plenty of Nassau residents have been grumbling about not being able to enjoy their usual access to the park during the tournament, it was all smiles inside the stadium. If that continues, it would be good news for County Executive Bruce Blakeman, who worked hard to bring the tournament to Nassau and would no doubt benefit from such a satisfied constituency.

With the potential for traffic as crowds increase, scarce tickets and high prices, and news of an ISIS terrorist threat, there still is plenty that could go wrong. But for Saturday, at least, the cricket game was one big festival where everybody seemed to take any inconveniences in stride.

That’s because for desis — the term used for people from the Indian subcontinent — going to a cricket match is a picnic.

Subimal Chakraborti, a septuagenarian from Syosset, and his brother sat in an exclusive area close to the pitch. Natives of India, they grew up in Calcutta, known since 2001 as Kolkata, where kids play cricket in the streets, with tennis balls, stacks of bricks for wickets, and sticks for bats.

The Chakrabortis are part of the generation raised on test cricket, where matches last for days. They remember watching the Nawab of Pataudi’s Indian team play against the mighty West Indies in Calcutta’s 60,000-seat Eden Gardens in 1967, when people who could not get tickets stormed in and raided the pitch.

The police had to use tear gas to help restore the game, which ended in a loss for India.

There were plenty of Nassau police officers at Eisenhower Park, too, but Saturday was a comparative walk in the park.

Subimal Chakraborti blamed the ISIS threat to sabotage Sunday’s big India-Pakistan game on someone angry about not being able to get tickets for the match. “Nothing’s going to happen,” he said.

Blakeman certainly hopes that’s true, too.

— Nirmal Mitra nirmal.mitra@newsday.com

Pencil Point

A step ahead

Credit: PoliticalCartoons.com/Dave Whamond

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Quick Points

A lifetime of work

  • With the end of the state legislative session looming June 6 and many bills pending, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie last week sought to reassure by saying, “We still have 5½ more days, which in Albany time is a lifetime.” If they actually worked the whole year, instead of less than a half-year, how many lifetimes would that be?
  • When Major League Baseball accepted Negro leagues stats as part of its official record, the great Black catcher Josh Gibson became baseball’s all-time leader in batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base plus slugging percentage. Sometimes, progress comes by looking forward, sometimes by looking back.
  • After former President Donald Trump launched an official TikTok account over the weekend, a campaign spokesman said, “We will leave no front undefended.” Didn’t realize that was being questioned by anyone.
  • Asked how much Republican National Committee fundraising will go to former President Donald Trump’s legal fees, RNC co-chair and Trump daughter-in-law Lara Trump said, “We’ll wait and see.” That’s code for “a lot.”
  • Former House speaker Newt Gingrich said the conviction of former President Donald Trump only makes him stronger and might backfire on the left. Gingrich, of course, had a front-row seat when President Bill Clinton’s poll numbers rose after his impeachment for the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
  • North Korea is launching balloons filled with trash and dumping them across the border in South Korea. It sounds like the plot of a bad B movie, but you know someone on Long Island who remembers the wandering garbage barge said, “Why didn’t we think of that?”

— Michael Dobie michael.dobie@newsday.com

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