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Snakes in the grass

For the Bengali, excluding Eden Gardens from the World Cup is like being a fish out of water.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2011 23:10 IST

If Sourav Ganguly's rather unceremonious exit from the Indian Premier League 4 was not damaging enough for Bengali confidence, this one is cause enough for a near fatal stroke. The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Saturday rejected the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) request to give it a fresh deadline for Eden Gardens to host the India vs England World Cup match on February 27. The ICC took the decision after its venue consultant visited the 'Edayen', which is being renovated for the World Cup. The Eden Gardens has already missed the ICC deadline twice - November 30 and then January 15.

For many, this could be just another confirmation that the Kalmadi virus is spreading across the country at a steady and insidious pace. But for cricket crazy Bengalis, it's a loss beyond repair. There can be nothing more beautiful, better and bigger than the billiard board-green turf of the Eden Gardens and the viewing experience from the galleries. For the record, the Eden Gardens is not (okay, we can already hear someone shouting 'down with imperialism' somewhere) the biggest cricket stadium, it's behind the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia. Nevertheless, a World Cup in India and not a single India match in the Eden Gardens! It's better not to have the World Cup then, some would argue.

This is how we see the event unfolding - no news, absolutely no news, is bigger than the one on the Eden Gardens. Maybe fish prices will rise and fall according to the changing moods of the Kolkatans, but one thing is for sure: the last of the two remaining safari suit-wearing sports bosses of the country, Cricket Association of Bengal president Jagmohan Dalmiya, will not have it easy if the Eden doesn't get an India match. Maybe Kolkatans will do what ICC boss Sharad Pawar could not: send Dalmiya packing.