A venue inspection team which included the Tournament Director, members of the Central Organising Committe (COC) and the ICC, yesterday reported on the readiness of five outstanding venues scheduled to host matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
Following the inspection tour, the three Sri Lanka venues - Colombo, Hambantota and Pallekele - as well as Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai have been approved subject to minor finishing work being completed within specified time frames not exceeding 14 days. The expert report, however, determined that Eden Gardens in Kolkata would not be ready within an acceptable time frame to host the India v England ICC Cricket World Cup match on 27 February.
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 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.”
Indians dismayed by Eden Gardens decision
(Reuters) - The decision to drop Eden Gardens as host of a high-profile World Cup match has been greeted with dismay in India and prompted calls to give arguably the country’s most famous ground another chance.
Eden Gardens failed to meet deadlines for renovations to the stadium, causing the International Cricket Council to change the venue for the Feb. 27 match between India and England.
“We all were looking forward to this match. We all were dying to see a renovated Eden Gardens which was already looking so beautiful,” former India batsman Arun Lal, now a commentator, told Reuters.
“Every cricket fan, every Kolkatan will be devastated by this.”
Nearly 100,000 people screaming at the top of their voices make Eden Gardens one of the most atmospheric cricket grounds in the world.
“Is there no chance of this decision being reversed? I am just hoping that they can reconcile,” Lal said.
Former India opening batsman Chetan Chauhan shared the view.
“I would suggest to the ICC and the Indian board that the Eden Gardens should be given another opportunity,” Chauhan said.
“They should be given about 7-10 days. The game is on Feb 27. and there is still a lot of time.
“If they don’t give them one more chance, I think they will deny a great centre and cricket-loving people the opportunity of watching a high-profile World Cup match.”
Eden Gardens, which hosted the 1987 World Cup final, will stage three other matches on March 15, 18 and 20, none of which feature the home side.
A furious Madan Lal, a member of India’s 1983 World Cup-winning team, said the organisers should be taken to task.
“One question is why was the stadium not ready?,” he said.
“Once a deadline was given, they should have completed work before that deadline.
“It’s not about the venue but about the people who have lost everything now.”
Former ICC chief Jagmohan Dalmiya heads the Cricket Association of Bengal, which is based at Eden Gardens.