ICC team inspects Eden, faces black flags

Monday, February 7, 2011

KOLKATA - A three-member International Cricket Council (ICC) team Monday inspected the facilities at the Eden Gardens here to see if it was fit to host three World Cup matches next month, even as some cricket lovers waved black flags to protest against the world body “robbing” the historic ground of the Feb 27 India-England game.

The ICC team - comprising stadium consultant Eugene Van Vuuren, general commercial manager Campbell Jamieson and event manager Chris Tetley - spent over three hours at the Eden Gardens premises since their arrival around 9.50 a.m.

Later, in the evening, Tetley returned for inspecting the floodlighting arrangements.

The ICC observers went around the ground, the two new galleries, the dressing rooms, some corporate boxes, and other parts of the premises in the morning.

“They will give their report Tuesday or day after. Let us see. I am hopeful we will host the matches,” Cricket Association of Bengal president Jagmohan Dalmiya told IANS.

Asked whether the CAB will try to get the India-Ireland game once the ICC inspectors gave the nod for the three non-India matches scheduled for next month at the Eden, Dalmiya said:”We will think of crossing the bridge when we reach it”.

“We have shown them all the facilities. They have seen the whole ground,” CAB joint secretary Biswarup Dey told newspersons.

Asked whether the ICC delegation was satisfied, Dey avoided a direct reply. “I cannot say that because they have not said (anything) so far,” he said.

CAB sources said the team spent a lot of time inspecting the sight screens which have been raised to 25 feet to accommodate the ICC’s directive. The sight screen had been a major area of dispute with the CAB insisting that the ground had hosted international games earlier with even 12-feet high sight screens.

As the ICC team was making a tour of the Eden Gardens, about 50 cricket lovers waved black flags, accusing the ICC of having taken away the Feb 27 match between India and England from the Eden. This, they alleged, was done at the behest of ICC president Sharad Pawar who has had a long-standing rivalry with CAB chief Dalmiya in Indian cricket board politics.

“ICC go back. Down Down, ICC. They took the unfair decision to please their boss Pawar,” said a youth, who was part of the demonstration organised under the banner of the Maidan Sports Lovers’ Association.

A section of CAB officials, however, expressed apprehension that the uncovered roof on the two newly built galleries could still be a bone of contention with the ICC late last month asking the local association to complete the roof construction before the venue can be given clearance for the three games. The CAB has already told the ICC that it was not possible to complete the roof.

As per a timeline given by the ICC, part of the work has to be completed by Monday, some more part by Feb 14 and the entire work schedule by Feb 22.

The ICC Jan 27 ruled the Eden Gardens unsuitable for the Feb 27 tie following an adverse report form its inspection team.

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

The Eden Gardens is now slated to host South Africa vs. Ireland (March 15), the Netherlands vs. Ireland (March 18), and Zimbabwe vs. Kenya (March 20). The Feb 27 India-England match has been shifted to Bangalore.

Filed under: Cricket

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