Graeme Smith salutes Eden Gardens

Kolkata: South African skipper Graeme Smith has saluted the Eden Gardens, where his side humbled Ireland to cruise into the World Cup quarterfinals, saying every cricketer wishes to experience the excitement of playing at the historic venue.

"I think traditionally it has one of the biggest crowds, whether it is a game against India or any other big game. All of us have good memories of playing here in the previous years," the South African skipper told mediapersons after the 131-run victory over Ireland Tuesday night.

Lauding the electrifying atmosphere which is part and parcel of the ground, that saw around 20,000 spectators in Tuesday`s game, Smith said: "We have seen exciting games. It is one of the big stadiums in the world and you want to experience playing here. Like Lord`s, or like MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground)."

The iconic Eden Gardens, which hosted India`s second ever Test match way back in 1934 and the World Cup final 24 years back, staged its maiden encounter of the current World Cup Tuesday after having lost its only tie involving India (opposite England) due to what the game`s apex body International Cricket Council called delay in preparing the stadium.

It is slated to hold two more matches, all involving lesser known teams this week. While Ireland meet the Netherlands Friday, Kenya and Zimbabwe clash Sunday.