ICC rules out World Cup match at Eden
The BCCI issued a release of ICC conveying its inability to hold the match at Eden Gardens on February 27.
The Cricket Board said it has recommended Bangalore as the alternate venue for the match.
"The ICC has conveyed to the BCCI that it will not be able to hold the India Vs England match of the ICC CWC 2011 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, on 27 February 2011.
"The BCCI has recommended Bengaluru as the alternate venue," BCCI Secretary & President-Elect N Srinivasan said in the release.
The hectic political lobbying that was on for the past 48 hours since it was announced that Eden`s marquee match will be shifted went in vain with the BCCI announcing ICC`s verdict.
The last ditch effort by West Bengal Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee didn`t yield any results. Since morning, there were rumours in the CAB corridors that ICC might just consider the plea to extend the deadline of completion of work till February 7.
Even former BCCI president and Cricket Association of Bengal supremo Jagmohan Dalmiya who had a telephonic conversation with ICC president Sharad Pawar expressed a glimmer of hope as he was assured that ICC would send an e-mail intimating them about the list of dos.
"I have spoken to Pawar, N Srinivasan, Arun Jaitley, Ratnakar Shetty not less than five to six times.
"Pawar is updating me about his whereabouts and in the afternoon — around 2.30pm — said the letter would come in half an hour. But we are yet to receive anything," an upset Dalmiya told reporters before he received the killer blow in the form of a final rejection from the ICC. said.
It`s been a terrible setback for CAB that even someone as important as Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee`s intervention couldn`t tilt the scales in CAB`s favour.
So devastated was Dalmiya after hearing the news that he confined himself in his chamber at the DR B.C.Roy Club House at Eden Gardens and refused to come out.
"I have lot of things to sort out and I can`t talk to the media today," he literally ran for cover as the waiting mediapersons hounded him.
The joint secretary of the state association Biswarup Dey conceded that it`s all over for Eden Gardens as of now.
"We all thought that we have got a lifeline but now it seems that all hopes of having the match are over. I am speechless. If the best efforts from chief minister aren`t enough, what can we say? But I would definitely raise this question at the BCCI meeting that how Bangalore can get two matches when it was decided all centres will get a match each," was his feeble argument.
Dalmiya said he had waited for a letter by the ICC specifying the reasons why Eden Gardens was dropped.
"It`s no hidden treasure. But by seeing this at least we will have the satisfaction why we were not given an opportunity… This is just a reasonable request," Dalmiya said.
He said that after the inspection (on January 25), they were told about three-four points about the venue`s unpreparedness in cricket operation, broadcast, sponsorship and ticketing issue.
"We need a little more explanation on this. We want to know what the ICC`s expectation, concerns etc are," he said.
"What is our fault…? We all are peeved, but with all humbleness we are making a polite request. We are not here to create an acrimony," Dalmiya said with state PWD minister Kshiti Goswami sitting beside him.
"I met (Union Finance Minister) Pranab Mukherjee yesterday because I wanted them to be apprised of the situation. I just want to know whether we are to be blamed? I don`t know whether it`s any political pressure…" he said.
PWD minister Kshiti Goswami threw his support behind beleaguered Dalmiya and asserted that they can even host the match tomorrow.
"I don`t know why ICC has dropped the venue, which is 95 per cent ready…only the finishing touches need to be given," Goswami said.
"We are still waiting for the ICC mail. We are in the dark why they dropped the venue," he said.
Goswami further saw a possible conspiracy theory behind the move.
"If even after getting the venue ready they take away the match then we will feel there is some vested interest. We are a sport-loving people. Nowhere in India or world, you would get such huge support like in the Eden Gardens. We have never been business minded. Maybe the lack of commercial aspect of the city is a reason for the match to be taken away," he said.