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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Unready Eden loses India-England WC match

Unready Eden loses India-England WC match

Last updated on: January 27, 2011 16:59 IST

The India - England World Cup group stage match on February 27, to be held at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, has been shifted following delay in construction work at the venue.

The International Cricket Council made known their decision in a Twitter post on Thursday.

"The expert report determined that Eden Gardens would not be ready within an acceptable time frame to host the India-England match on February 27," the post said.

The Eden Gardens was scheduled to host four matches -- on February 27, March 15, March 18 and March 20. Now, it remains to be seen whether the ICC will allow the other matches at the venue to go ahead.

Eden GardensAn ICC team, comprising stadium consultant Eugene van Vuuren, ICC's general manager-commercial Campbell Jamieson and ICC events manager Chris Tetley, inspected the Wankhde stadium on Monday and then visited Eden Gardens the next day to check out its status.

The team also visited the three Sri Lanka venues -- Colombo, Hambantota and Pallekele.

While the Wankhede and Sri Lanka venues, which also underwent renovation work, were cleared, the inspection team had reservations about the preparedness of the Eden Gardens.

"Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai has been approved subject to minor finishing work being completed within specified time frames not exceeding 14 days," the ICC added.

Of particular concern was the fact that host venue obligations in relation to cricket operations, media, broadcast and sponsorship facilities were not finalized and/or confirmed by the venue.

The venue inspection team which included the Tournament Director Ratnakar Shetty, members of the Central Organising Committe (COC) and the ICC, on Thursday reported on the readiness of five outstanding venues scheduled to host matches in the World Cup 2011.

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat informed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) of the decision and, as host, the BCCI will now consider an alternate venue for approval by the ICC.

Lorgat said: "All venues had ample time in which to prepare for world cup matches. We had been understanding and had provided extensions to the deadline dates but unfortunately we are now at a point where we must carefully manage our risks.

"The COC had provided venues with a deadline of 30 November 2010 to complete all construction work and then to be match-ready by 31 December 2010. An extension was granted by the ICC for five venues, which were again inspected over the past week. Sadly, Eden Gardens in Kolkata was unable to meet the final deadline date of 25 January 2011.

"Regrettably, Eden Gardens has not made sufficient progress to justify the level of confidence required to confirm that the venue would be ready in good time. This was no easy decision to take and while it is most unfortunate, it is absolutely necessary," said Lorgat.

The inspection team drew on the knowledge and experience of some of the leading experts in the field of stadium and ground preparation and the view was that Eden Gardens would not be ready by the 27 February.

The ICC has also recognised the challenge of relocating a scheduled match.

Tournament Director Prof. Ratnakar Shetty said: "We will work with the new venue, the tour operators and the ticket distributors to manage the logistical challenges that will surely arise."

Photograph: Harish Kotian