Dalmiya seeks ten-day grace, urges board to persuade ICC
Expressing shock over the International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision to take away the Feb 27 India-England World Cup match from Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Jagmohan Dalmiya on Thursday appealed to the Indian cricket board to advise the international body to reconsider its decision.
Refering to the 14-day extension given by the ICC to four other venues, including Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium to complete the finishing work, Dalmiya asked for an extension of 10 days from Thursday up to Feb 7 to hand over a complete Eden Gardens to the game's apex body.
"We, at the CAB, feel that we are already in a position to host the match. Despite this, we will take congnizance of all ICC concerns pertaining to 'cricketing, broadcast, media, sponsor, hospitality and ticket requirements' which are reasonable, if we are allowed the extended deadline of ten days," Dalmiya said in a letter to the Board of Control for Cricket in India chief Shashank Manohar.
Dalmiya's missive came hours after the ICC ruled out Eden Gardens as a venue for the match, saying it was unprepared.
The ICC took the decision following an adverse report from its venue inspection team that visited Kolkata and four other venues earlier this week to review their readiness for the big event being hosted jointly by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka February-March.
Quoting report of the inspection team, the ICC statement said: "Eden Gardens in Kolkata would not be ready within an acceptable time frame to host the India vs England ICC Cricket World Cup match on Feb 27."
"We at the CAB, were shocked, to say the least... it comes as a shock because when the ICC inspection team was here, we were given to understand that they were happy with the progress of the wordk and had suggested only a few minor modifications," Dalmiya said.
Dalmiya argued that while the ICC decision to take away the Feb 27 match came exactly 30 days before it was scheduled to be held, "the ICC is willing to take over the venue 20 days before the (three other) matches in March".
Apart from the India-England encounter, Eden Gardens is supposed to host three other games-South Africa vs. Ireland (March 15), the Netherlands vs. Ireland (March 18), and Zimbabwe vs. Kenya (March 20).
"We are at a loss to understand why the ICC is taking away the India-England match 30 days prior to it being held. It is also pertinent to note that three Sri Lanka venues - Colombo, Hanbantola and Pallekele, as well as Wankhede have been given time extension for 14 days," the letter said.
"Logically, the CAB should also have been given at least till February 7 for handing over of the venue prior to the Feb 27 match. It is an extension of ten days and not the 14 days given to Wankhede and the three Sri Lankan venues," he said.
"We hereby confirm that we will hand over a completed Eden Gardens to the ICC on Feb 7, provided we are given the aforesaid extension," the letter said.
Dalmiya also sought to know the specific requirements of the ICC immediately.
"We would ensure that all of these requirements are met by Feb 7," he said.
Later, he told media persons that game could still "probably" be held at Eden, and the final situation would be known in a couple of days.
Asked whether it was a loss of face for the CAB, the seasoned cricket administrator shot back: "Loss of face, for what?"