Thursday, January 27, 2011


News is just coming in that ICC has ruled against Kolkata's Eden Gardens hosting the India v England match on February 27 during the World Cup.

As a cricket fan from India, it is a huge disappointment to see India's highest-capacity and most iconic ground being robbed of its only chance of hosting a match involving India at a 'home' World Cup. Obviously I wouldn't have been traveling to Kolkata to watch the match... but just watching on television a match hosted by Eden Gardens is an experience in itself.

The last international match hosted by that ground was the 2nd Test between India and South Africa in February 2010... a match that India won towards the closing period of the 5th day in an extremely tense finish with quite a large crowd egging them on. Kolkata has also hosted some of the most memorable matches to have been played in India.

However, as much as it is a disappointment, I believe ICC must be applauded for its decisive step here. Had ICC given Eden Gardens the go-ahead signal right now, there might have been two possibilities... either the Cricket Association of Bengal would have goofed up their preparations badly and do a bad job of hosting the match OR they might have pulled off a good match at the last minute after some hasty eleventh hour patch ups. I do not foresee, even for a moment, a scenario where the CAB could have completed their preparations sufficient period in advance and have everything go off smoothly on the match day.

This scenario could have gone on to unfold very much like the events in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games hosted by New Delhi last year. There was mud-slinging and complete embarrassment for India... and despite the fact that eventually the Games went off well, the bad taste in the mouth was there to linger. We really did not want a similar scenario here.

By stripping Kolkata's status as the host of the India-England match, the ICC has taken a bold and a strong step to ensure that the media speculations and the pre-CWG like events are kept to a minimum. The alternate venue will have a good whole month to prepare for this match... and I am sure if ICC remains this decisive, all the other venues will pull off a good show.

But here's the catch... ICC MUST REMAIN STRONG AND DECISIVE ENOUGH to ensure that this decision is not challenged without sufficient and reasonable cause. The CAB has not shown any promptness or urgency... and has now missed more than one deadline. Any cause favouring Kolkata's reinstatement as the host of that match shall have to be a very strong one. I just hope that politics is not used to add muscle to their cause, because it would be a shame to see ICC take a strong decision and then buckle down under the political and monetary pressure that may be exerted by India to save face.

So as much as it is a tremendous disappointment to see one of my favourite grounds lost its right to host one of India's big matches during the World Cup, I must again applaud the ICC and urge it to remain strong enough to back itself and its decisions.


Freehit said...

Its shameful that India hasn't delivered on time yet again.

Just a while back, I had written this on my new blog:

namya said...

Would be happier if the ICC were as quick and decisive about the match fixing judgement

Unknown said...

Namya, it's not like ICC to be quick and decisive! That's why this decision was such a surprise (though I must say that the way Dalmiya is lobbying for support now, I wouldn't be surprised if Eden Gardens does eventually host the India v England tie).