For once, Jagmohan Dalmiya's last-ditch efforts have come a little too late. Eden Gardens will not host the India-England World Cup match scheduled for February 27. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has confirmed Bangalore as the alternative venue.
The writing had been on the wall as soon as the International Cricket Council (ICC) rejected a plea from the Dalmiya-led Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) for more time to get Eden Gardens ready in accordance with the requirements of the world body.
"The ICC has conveyed to the BCCI that it will not be able to hold the India versus England match of the ICC CWC 2011 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, on 27 February 2011," the BCCI said in a media release on Sunday evening. "The BCCI has recommended Bengaluru as the alternate venue," the release added.
To hold on to the other three matches assigned to Eden Gardens, none of which involve India, the CAB "must assure ICC by tomorrow that they can hand over the venue on February 22," an ICC insider told HT on Sunday. "If that assurance is given, the ICC may send an inspection team to Eden Gardens around February 7," a BCCI insider said.
The BCCI insider added: "We feel sorry for the people of Kolkata. The CAB bungled it."
While Dalmiya was unavailable for comment, a CAB official said the aim now was to ensure that the other three matches - Ireland-South Africa on March 15, Ireland-Netherlands on March 18 and Kenya-Zimbabwe on March 20 - are not taken away.
"The India-England match is a closed chapter now. And we are not hopeful of getting another India match either," said the official, who did not want to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The announcement should end Dalmiya's fight for a 'fair opportunity' to ready Eden Gardens, which has hosted a World Cup final and a semi-final in the past, for this edition of the quadrennial event.
The team's recommendation was to shift all four matches away from Eden Gardens.