A scathing report on slow renovation work at the Wankhede Stadium and Eden Gardens has not ruffled people in charge of the venues scheduled to host World Cup matches next year. Quoting members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) inspection team, a website reported they were apprehensive whether the two venues would “be in a suitable condition to be handed over by January 31”.
The report said the inspection team was particularly harsh on Eden Gardens. “The venue administration did not recognise the requirements of the event…There was a tendency to rely on experiences of previous World Cup matches which took place in 1996, and are not wholly relevant to the needs of stakeholders for CWC 2011,” it quoted a team member as saying. India had courted trouble over delay in getting venues ready for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
People back home, however, reacted calmly. Tournament director Ratnakar Shetty, who told Hindustan Times on Saturday he doesn’t want to comment on “media reports”, was quoted by the same website as saying: “I’m quite confident it will be done by January 15, which is two months before the Wankhede Stadium’s first World Cup game. In any case, the major work at Wankhede is already done.” It was learnt the ICC is unhappy with the positioning of the umpires’ room, medical room and the anti-doping facility and wants them shifted. The ICC has also suggested some interior changes in the commentators’ box.
“There is no concern as such. They had suggested some modifications as per ICC guidelines and we have assured them that all these modifications would be complete by January 15,” said Lalchand Rajput, joint secretary of the Mumbai Cricket Association which is in charge of matches at Wankhede Stadium. The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), which hosts matches at Eden Gardens, too sounded unperturbed. “ICC officials have been informed that we will finish by January 15 and they agreed. They will see improvement on their next visit,” said CAB joint-secretary Biswarup Dey.
The ICC inspection team is expected to return around mid January. The original deadline for World Cup venues in India was November 30. For those not ready, it was extended till December 31.
The Wankhede Stadium is set to host three matches including the final on April 2. Four matches have been slotted for Eden Gardens with the first one on February 27.