'We are still trying our best'
A new look Eden Gardens was inspected by a three-member ICC team on Monday, in what appeared to be a final visit before it gives its verdict on the remaining three World Cup matches, scheduled at the historic venue on March 15, 18 and 20.
After the renovation work, which is round the clock, the Eden now sports a transformed look, much improved from when the ICC team inspected it on January 25.
With the construction mess cleared around the stadium, bucket seats in place, height of the sightscreen increased to 25 feet and width to 50 feet and 32 corporate boxes ready with a stylish look, the Eden Gardens now looks spic-and-span and dazzling.
Jagmohan Dalmiya & Co are still hoping against hope to get back the India -- the England match that was shifted from the venue to Bangalore in view of Eden's unpreparedness 15 days ago.
"We are still trying our best," Biswarup Dey said, when asked if they are hoping for an alternative arrangement.
"As per BCCI guidelines, every venue in the country is entitled an India-related match or gets to host a match from the quarters, semis or final. How can Bangalore get to host two matches (as the venue already has a scheduled India-Ireland match). We will appeal at ICC through BCCI," Dey said.
Image: Labourers work at the Eden Gardens cricket stadium before the first deadline on January 28
'We have met all the guidelines that were given to us'
The inspectors, comprising ICC stadium consultant Eugene Van Vuuren, general commercial manager Campbell Jamieson and event manager Chris Tetley spent about three hours as CAB members appeared confident of getting a green signal for the remaining three matches.
"Eden can host a match even tomorrow," said Chitrak Mitra, in-charge of stadium renovation work.
The ICC team began their inspection from the K, L block and went on to see whether the garbage and rubble was cleared.
The team also checked the generator facilities, the venue operation centre, the broadcasting cameras, the two-bed mini-hospital at the J block, dressing room, umpires room, match referee's room, ICC office, accreditation room and media facilities before meeting the 10-member CAB team, led by Dalmiya.
"We have met all the guidelines that were given to us. I don't think there is any reason why we will not get a positive report, which is expected anytime," joint-secretary Dey said.
Image: An International Cricket Council (ICC) team arrive to inspect Eden Gardens, one of the venues for the upcoming Cricket World Cup, in Kolkata on Monday
The renovated Eden Gardens now has a reduced seating capacity
The increased height of sightscreen meant that about 1500 seats will be reduced, Dey informed.
The renovated Eden Gardens now has a seating capacity of 63,000 from an original 87,000.
There was some apprehension on the roof cover over the metal structures in the B, C, K and L blocks, but the CAB said it was not mandatory as per the ICC guidelines and would not be any hindrance.
The historic venue had earlier missed two deadlines -- November 30, 2010 and January 15, 2011 -- to complete the work even as CAB authorities maintained that all is well with the Eden.
The remaining three World Cup matches at the Eden Gardens are: South Africa vs Ireland (March 15), Netherlands vs Ireland (March 18) and Zimbabwe vs Kenya (March 20).
Image: Demonstrators shout anti-ICC (International Cricket Council) slogans during a protest outside Eden Gardensin Kolkata on Monday