Eden Gardens's hopes of getting back the India-England World Cup match on Feb 27 were dashed with the International Cricket Council (ICC) conveying to the Indian cricket board on Sunday that holding the match at the historic cricketing venue is not possible.
"The ICC has conveyed to the BCCI that it will not be able to hold the India vs England match of the ICC Cricket World Cup at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, Feb 27," BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said in a statement.
"The BCCI has recommended Bengaluru (Bangalore) as the alternate venue," he said.
The statement came after two days of hectic developments and the state government moving swiftly to press its machinery to salvage the situation.
West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee himself called up ICC president Sharad Pawar and requested him to reconsider the decision of shifting the venue of the crucial India match.
Also, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Jagmohan Dalmiya met minance minister Pranab Mukherjee and discussed the issue.
The ICC on 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.
Earlier, at the intervention of Bhattacharjee, state PWD minister Kshiti Gowami visited the Eden Gardens and took a stock of the preparation on Sunday. He said less than "five percent" of construction work remained to be completed and will be done by Feb 5.
He lashed out at the ICC and claimed it was yet to submit a list of things it wanted to be done for reconsidering whether the game can be held at the historic ground - which staged the World Cup final in 1987 and a semi-final in 1996.
"I don't want to implicate them (ICC) by leveling charges. Now we eagerly want the match to be played… If the ICC wants coaxing from our side, we will coax and coax."
"But the ICC is yet to provide a list of the things it wants to be done. Let them first say what they want. I came here as an observer and inspected the ground with my departmental engineers. Less than five percent of the civil construction work still remains to be done. We will work on war footing. By Feb 5 all work will be complete," he said.
"And by Feb 7 Eden will be match fit. Work has reached such a stage that (Cricket Association of Bengal president) Mr.Jagmohan Dalmiya can sleep and still hold the match once he wakes up," said Goswami, known for his closeness to the seasoned cricket administrator.
Goswami said following a request from former Indian captain and Kolkata resident Sourav Ganguly, the chief minister called up Pawar, who later called back. "This (Sunday) morning the CM again spoke to Pawar."
"Pawar has said if all conditions are met, the match may be held. He told the CM that he will send an e-mail detailing the points he wanted the CAB to cover… Mr.Dalmiya has also called him up several times. We are still awaiting the list," said Goswami.
Dalmiya said he had spoken to Pawar at least five-six times besides interacting with the Indian cricket board officials like secretary N.Srinivasan and tournament director Ratnakar Shetty.
"They said we have failed. But on what have we failed? I am being told that the mail on this will come. I think it is reasonable on my part to ask what they think are our failings. I hope they send it to us by tomorrow (Monday) morning."
"They are talking of shortcomings on the cricket operations front. Cricket operation is a big area. What is the specific thing they want us to do?" Dalmiya said.
Alleging a conspiracy to rob Eden Gardens and the city of the World Cup game, Goswami said: "Maybe the list will be sent so late that we won't have any time to do anything. That will only prove the motive was to take the match away form Kolkata. There are lot of things involved."
Accusing the ICC of going by commercial interest, Goswmai said: "Kolkata is still not considered a top commercial city. Maybe, there are other cities in India which have more commercial value."