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Shetty allays fears over delays at WC venues

Mumbai: The delay in work at two World Cup venues in the country notwithstanding, tournament director Prof. Ratnakar Shetty on Wednesday expressed confidence that it will be completed on time for the cricketing mega event, scheduled to begin next month.

"There are a lot of speculation about the venues. I fully assure you that we are fully prepared. We are ready to stage this great event that comes once in four years," Shetty said during a promotional event for the 2011 World Cup here.

"I want to assure you that all the venues, including Wankhede stadium are fully prepared and are geared up for the event. All the media friends will have a look into the venues.

We will formally have a media presentation after the end of the final round of visits (by an ICC team) on the 25th (January) at the Eden Gardens," he added.

"We have a final visit only for two venues in India, Kolkata on 25th and 24th at the Wankhede stadium. This is a small ICC committee which overlooks the entire preparedness. I can assure you that even before this committee visits that both these venues will be ready.

"There is just some finishing going on. And the same thing for the three venues in Sri Lanka to be prepared. They are putting in all their best efforts. No venue would like to lose out staging an international match, that too for a World Cup. Therefore, no compromise would be done," Shetty said.

ICC President Sharad Pawar, who also heads the Mumbai Cricket Association, too echoed in Shetty`s sentiments and allayed any fears over delay in the completion of work at the Wankhede stadium.

"There was lot of talk in the media on whether the stadium will be ready in such a short time. But I must give credit to my colleagues in the Mumbai Cricket Association. You will enjoy the much improved Wankhede stadium and its facilities," Pawar said.

"As Prof. Shetty has rightly said, the ICC Committee is visiting on 24th. I am wearing two hats. I am wearing the MCA president (hat) here so I am absolutely confident that the team that visits the venue will be happy. They will see what MCA has done is a miracle. And for all spectators, for matches purpose, stadiums and grounds will be absolutely ready," he said.

ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat said that he had not pressed the panic button yet, but would have been satisfied had the work been completed on schedule.

"I would have been much more satisfied had the stadiums been completed on the due date. But I am not panicking just yet. Prof. Shetty and his team are working quite hard and the final inspections will be held in the next few days," he said.

Lorgat also dismissed speculation that there were plans to shift matches from two venues in Sri Lanka – Sooriyawewa in Hambanthota district and the refurbished stadium in Pallekele – where work is behind schedule.

"There are no plans to shift any matches. The final inspections are going to be held soon," he added.

Hosts India and Bangladesh will kick-off the 2011 ICC World Cup on February 19 in Dhaka, while the final would be played on April 2 at the Wankhede stadium.

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