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Cricket World Cup: Kolkata not ready for India-England

Kolkata's Eden Gardens, pictured on 5 January 2011
Eden Gardens, pictured here on 5 January, has undergone major renovation

The International Cricket Council has ruled that Kolkata's Eden Gardens stadium will not be ready in time to host one of its World Cup games.

A new venue is now being sought for the India v England game on 27 February.

However, Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium and the three Sri Lankan venues have all been approved, subject to minor work.

The World Cup, co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, begins on 19 February - with Kolkata originally scheduled to host four group games.

However, the ICC decision will be a huge blow to Kolkata as none of the other three games - Ireland v South Africa (15 March), Ireland v Netherlands (18 March) and Kenya v Zimbabwe (20 March) - are anywhere near as prestigious as an India-England encounter.

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With five of the 13 venues requiring a final inspection by World Cup tournament director Professor Ratnakar Shetty and the central organising committee (COC), the ICC's report approved Mumbai and the Sri Lankan venues - Colombo's R Premadasa Stadium, Hambantota and Pallekele - subject to minor finishing work to be completed within 14 days.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat had announced on 15 January that the five venues were "slightly" behind schedule - with particular concern over Mumbai, venue for the final on 2 April, which like Eden Gardens has undergone major renovation.

Earlier in the week, Sri Lanka's upcoming one-day internationals against West Indies were moved to another Colombo venue, the Sinhalese Sports Club, on ICC advice, to allow work to be carried out.

Sri Lanka Cricket chairman DS de Silva told the BBC that all three venues would be handed over to the ICC on 28 January.

WORLD CUP 2011 VENUES
India (29 matches*) - Mumbai, Mohali, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi
Sri Lanka (12 matches) - Colombo (R Premadasa Stadium), Hambantota, Pallekele
Bangladesh (8 matches) - Mirpur, Chittagong
*including Kolkata's four games

But despite passing the Sri Lankan venues and Mumbai, the ICC inspectors ruled that Eden Gardens would not be ready "within an acceptable time frame".

"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," an ICC statement read.

Indian sport is still smarting from the debacle of last year's Commonwealth Games in Delhi, when several teams threatened to pull out because of unfinished or substandard facilities.

Lorgat explained: "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.

The ICC inspection team at Eden Gardens
The ICC's inspection team visited Eden Gardens earlier this week

"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.

"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."

Professor Shetty added: "We will work with the new venue, the tour operators and the ticket distributors to manage the logistical challenges that will surely arise."

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will now consider an alternate venue for the India-England game, which the ICC must approve.

The match is the second World Cup game each side will play, after India face Bangladesh in the opening game in Mirpur on 19 February, and England take on the Netherlands in Nagpur three days later.

Eden Gardens, which held 90,000 before renovation, has staged 22 one-day internationals, including the 1987 World Cup final when Australia beat England.

However, the 1996 World Cup semi-final between India and Sri Lanka was marred by rioting in the crowd, and Sri Lanka were awarded the game by default.



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see also
ICC admits Sri Lanka venues delay
26 Jan 11 |  Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka board chief slams media
21 Jan 11 |  Sri Lanka
World Cup venues behind schedule
15 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Mumbai lands 2011 World Cup final
14 Oct 09 |  Cricket
India lands 2011 World Cup final
08 Jul 06 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011 squads
19 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup warm-up matches
16 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Sakaal Times No Indian game at Eden Gardens - 11 hrs ago
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