ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
World Cup 2011
BCCI backs Bengal board's plea for reconsideration on Eden Gardens
January 28, 2011
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Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Sites: Cricinfo ICC Site
Grounds: Eden Gardens
The BCCI has given its backing to the Cricket Association of Bengal's (CAB) request to the ICC to reconsider the decision to move the India-England Group B match from Eden Gardens. Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, told ESPNcricinfo that the board had sent a letter to the ICC, as the CAB had done on Thursday, asking for the ICC to think again about the decision.
On Thursday the ICC ruled out Kolkata as the host venue for the February 27 clash, after the tournament's inspection committee found the ground far from ready after a visit on January 25. Late on Thursday, Jagmohan Dalmiya, the CAB president, pleaded in a letter addressed to the ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat to be given a further extension of ten days. The letter was forwarded to the ICC by the BCCI.
Manohar said he had personally attached another letter to Lorgat, also asking the ICC to reconsider yesterday's decision. "Mr Dalmiya sent that letter to me [on Thursday]. I then sent a forwarding letter [to Haroon Lorgat, ICC chief executive] saying that if Mr Dalmiya is willing to hand over the stadium match-ready to the ICC by February 7, the ICC should consider the request favourably," Manohar said
What the ICC's response is likely to be is unclear but the prospects, according to some, are not bright. Instead it is understood that the ICC has asked the BCCI to finalise an alternate venue by the morning of January 31. Manohar, who said on Thursday that organising the World Cup was the ICC's responsibility, said, however, that he was in no hurry and would wait for the ICC to revert to him first.
"The ball is now in the ICC's court. They are the ones who need to take a decision. I don't know what will happen because it is finally ICC's call," he said. Lorgat was unavailable for comment and the ICC has made no further statement since the press release was issued on Thursday.
The day after the decision saw Dalmiya involved in hectic discussions with Manohar throughout. The Bengal board head said he had been talking to Manohar but was unwilling to go into details of the discussions. Manohar said the talks were mostly focused on getting an idea of how much work at the ground was completed and to get an assurance that it would be ready before he sent the letter to the ICC. "Finally it is my member association [CAB)] and he [Dalmiya] assured me that the stadium would be ready by February 7," Manohar said.
But no further clarity emerged on the reasons why the CAB failed to get the venue up to the mark. "I did not ask him about why the CAB had not met the deadlines," Manohar said. "This is not the time to ask all these questions because it is not going to take us anywhere."
According to the Host Agreement signed by the three co-hosts India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, all 13 venues should have been completed three months prior to the event, by November 19, 2010. The last day of the year was the deadline by which the grounds should have been ready to host matches. Kolkata was one of five venues, along with Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, and Hambantota and Pallekele, two new Sri Lankan venues, that missed out on this deadline. But only Kolkata failed to get the nod from the six-member ICC inspection committee, which was shocked the Eden Gardens was not ready despite getting an extended deadline that expired on January 25.
The final decision to take the first fixture away was made by the ICC. On Wednesday, Sharad Pawar, the ICC president, was updated on the situation via a teleconference which included members of the inspection committee and others such as Lorgat and Ratnakar Shetty, head of the central organising committee of the World Cup. It is understood that Pawar then told them to do what needs to be done, after which the decision was taken.
The blame for the fiasco is yet to settle definitively on any particular body, with all involved trying to avoid it. Manohar has already said that the BCCI would not take any responsibility.
Questions will no doubt be asked of the ICC's role in not taking a decision earlier, with particular reference to the inspection committee report in December which first pointed out alarming concerns in the progress of the stadium work. In a letter on December 14 addressed to tournament director India Suru Nayak, the ICC expressed serious concerns over the delay in the completion of work at the Wankhede Stadium and Eden Gardens. In its final venue assessment summary, the ICC's team expressed strong and unacceptable concerns about the latter's preparation, putting a red mark - to denote serious concern - against the following aspects: overall presentation of venue and construction, media facilities, broadcast (TV specific), broadcast radio, broadcast facilities, tickets, hospitality, even presentation (replay screen, sportainment), venue public facilities, and security planning.
It is understood, however, that the inspection team was satisfied by promises of the CAB, then, that the situation would be fixed by the time they returned in January, even though one official who was part of that visit said the state of the stadium was "pathetic." The inspection committee - which has a number of relevant experts on it - was content that these issues could be resolved in 6 weeks (between the December and January inspections). It was in the first ten days of January, however, that it became apparent there was a huge problem about to emerge.
A source familiar with the negotiations revealed how little progress had been made since December. "All the things the ICC team had asked the CAB to attend to in December were never accomplished. The team found the venue to be in the same state as they had seen on their last visit (in December)," he said.
Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo; Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Osman Samiuddin
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