ICC defends staging final in low-capacity Wankhede venue

Thursday, 24 March 2011 00:26 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

(Reuters) - ICC chief Haroon Lorgat defended the decision to stage the World Cup final in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, saying it would provide the perfect setting for the city’s favourite son Sachin Tendulkar to script a “fairytale” ending.

Choosing the arena for the finale raised a few eyebrows amid growing frustration for shortage of tickets as the 33,442-seater stadium has the second lowest capacity out of the eight Indian venues hosting matches during the six-week tournament.

While Kolkata’s revamped Eden Gardens could hold almost 60,000 fans, Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla and Ahmedabad’s Sardar Patel grounds have around 50,000 seats but all of them were overlooked for the April 2 final.

“You know you have got choices to make,” International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Lorgat told reporters on Wednesday.

“Can you imagine a (more) fairytale ending with Sachin Tendulkar getting a hundred in the final and India winning at the Wankhede which is his home ground?

“And no matter what the number (of seats), we do not have sufficient tickets.”

Fans, seeking tickets, have regularly clashed with baton-wielding police in the subcontinent bringing the tournament on the verge of being a public-relations disaster.