CAB’s hopes of a miracle dashed

Jan. 30: The International Cricket Council on Sunday had the last say, remaining firm on its decision to shift the India-England World Cup from the unprepared Eden Gardens. What lies ahead for the beleaguered state association now? Will it be able to host the three remaining matches as scheduled?

Speaking to this newspaper, ICC media officer James Fitzgerald says, “There will be another round of inspection of Eden on February 7 to see whether it is fit to stage the remaining games. If the work being carried out there matches the requirements of the ICC, only then will it get a green signal.”

Looking at the current state of work on in the stadium, it will not be too surprising if the other scheduled ties too are scrapped. In blocks ‘B’ and ‘C’, there are still about 1,000 seats that are to be installed.

In addition, welding too is still being carried on in these blocks. And CAB officials continue to maintain that almost everything’s ready.” They are also adamant about the height of the sightscreen, which according to the ICC should be 25 feet six inches. “Raising it to 25 feet will affect about 600 seats. At the same time, other centres don’t have such high sightscreens,” argued Cricket Association of Bengal president Jagmohan Dalmiya.

With his first game threatened, Dalmiya had run for help to heavyweight politicians, while the West Bengal chief minister too jumped into the act, saying he had been given assurances of a new deadline from ICC president Sharad Pawar.

But as events on the day showed, it was no more than sound and fury as a statement from BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan said, “The ICC has conveyed that it will not be able to hold the India versus England World Cup match at Eden Gardens on February 27. The BCCI has recommended Bengaluru as the alternate venue.”

CAB’s hopes of a miracle are now dashed. “We are shocked. But I still say we should’ve been given more time. Nevertheless, I’ll certainly question in the next board meeting as to how Bengaluru can get two matches featuring India,” said joint-secretary Biswarup Dey. Even as this is being played out, debris and mortar continue to lie in and around the stadium, mute testimony to tall claims about work being completed on time.

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