Cannot cover all stands now: CAB tells ICC

Monday, January 31, 2011

KOLKATA - Unfinished roof construction work could jeopardise Eden Garden’s chances of hosting the three remaining World Cup matches as the local cricket association has categorically conveyed to the International Cricket Council (ICC) that it was not possible to cover all the stands ahead of the matches next month as now demanded by the ICC.

Hours after confirming that the Feb 27 India-England tie will not be played at the Eden Gardens, the ICC sent an email to the Cricket Association of Bengal through the Indian cricket board Sunday night, asking the staging association to complete “remaining roof construction work, besides covering work in the two rebuilt stands by Feb 14″.

“But how is that possible in such a short time? Even the Lords ground does not have cover over all the stands,” said a CAB official.

“Eighty percent of the blocks in the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium at Dhaka’s Mirpur do not have any shade. But the opening match is slated to be held there,” claimed the CAB official.

At present, four of the stands at the Eden Gardens - J, E, D, D1 - are open. The four newly built blocks - B, C, K and L - have the structure to hold the overhead covering, but the CAB does not have any plan to install the roof now.

“We had made it clear to the ICC at the outset that we will not put any roof over these stands. Then they did not say anything. Now at the 11th hours, they are making these demands”.

“We have given a point to point reply to their mail. And we have categorically mentioned that we cannot undertake the roof construction work now. If they take away the remaining games on this account, so be it,” he said.

Asked whether the demand was part of any broader gameplan to humiliate the CAB by robbing Eden Gardens of all World Cup matches, the official said: “On the contrary, they will now be exposed. We will show to the world that the stadium would be complete Feb 7″.

The ICC Jan 27 ruled the Eden Gardens unsuitable for the tie due to its unpreparedness. The scrapping of the match followed an adverse report from the ICC venue inspection team.

Following an appeal from CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya, Board of Control for Cricket in India chief Shashank Manohar requested ICC to consider the demand, but the international body turned it down Sunday night.

Instead, ICC has decided to carry out three inspections - Feb 7, Feb 14 and Feb 22 to gauge the stadium’s preparedness for the three other matches, said a CAB official. The Eden Gardens is slated to host South Africa vs. Ireland (March 15), the Netherlands vs. Ireland (March 18), and Zimbabwe vs. Kenya (March 20).

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