Work at Eden speeded up, CAB still hopeful about England tie

January 28th, 2011 - 11:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Jan 28 (IANS) Over 300 labourers were at work on a war footing at the Eden Gardens and officials held emergency parleys, as the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) woke up to the job of finishing ongoing work a day after the International Cricket Council (ICC) took away the India-England Feb 27 game from the historic ground. “Had they shown such commitment earlier, we would not have had to face such humiliation,” said T.P. Dutta, a cricket lover who still finds it difficult to accept that Eden Gardens - which staged the 1987 World Cup final - would not have any match involving India in the coming edition of the big event.

However, the CAB officials were still hoping against hope that the strong stand taken by the Board of Control for Cricket in India president Shashank Manohar, who shot off a letter to the ICC, would yield “something positive”.

Manohar in his missive wrote that the assurances given by the CAB chief Jagmohan Dalmiya - himself a former ICC chief - that the work would be completed in time, should be given due importance.

Having drawn flak from all quarters for the tardy pace of renovation work, CAB joint secretary Biswarup Dey called an emergency meeting in the morning that was attended by a host of officials. Supervisory work was distributed among them.

Two huge cranes have been operating non-stop, while over 100 labourers were engaged to fix bucket seats in one of the galleries. Some of the scaffoldings on the outer walls - which were seen till Thursday - have been removed.

Some of the debris still remained inside the ground, but the lower tier of the stadium was almost complete.

Work around the CAB office inside the stadium is on the verge of completion with the workers giving finishing touches.

“We are increasing the height of the sight screen as per the design given by the ICC officials who carried out an inspection Tuesday. We are also flexible on relocating the radio commentary booth about which the ICC has objections,” said Dey.

Meanwhile, rumours and speculations were rife. In the morning a section of media went to town quoting Dey that the ICC will re-inspect the facility Jan 31 to decide the fate of the three remaining matches. When queried about it, Dey told IANS: “I have not got any intimation. I only saw it on a website.”

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the CAB was also lobbying for getting another match involving India and had sounded out Delhi to swap the England match with the one involving India and Netherlands scheduled to be played in the national capital.

Former CAB joint secretary Chitrak Mitra, who has been supervising the work at Eden Gardens, said the association lost 37 days due to the Indian Premier League and the Test match involving South Africa last year.

The ICC ruled Eden Gardens unsuitable for the tie 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 from Feb 19 to April 2.

Dalmiya Thursday appealed to the BCCI to advise the international body to reconsider its decision.

Referring 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.

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).

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