Sporting fraternity disheartened over Eden fiasco

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Kolkata, February 3 (PTI) Eden Gardens is to India whatLord''s is to England and the sporting fraternity is shockedand disappointed after the country''s mecca of cricket, EdenGardens lost out on a chance to host the Indian team in theupcoming World Cup.

It will be for the first time that the India cricket teamwill not be playing at the venue that had hosted the 1987World Cup final and 1996 World Cup semi-finals after the ICCinspectors found that Eden Gardens was not ready to hostFebruary 27-slated marquee India-England match.

Former Bengal captain Deep Dasgupta told PTI that theissue could have been handled in a better way.

"It (Eden Gardens) has a cult status in world cricket.

Everyone around the world wants to play in Eden Gardens. It''slike Sydney or Lord''s," Dasgupta, who handles the cricketoperations of new IPL franchise Sahara Pune Warriors, said.

"We all were waiting for England in Eden Gardens. Both the teams are favourites to winthe World Cup. So it''s disappointing, and very sad," he said.

Out-of-favour India batsman Robin Uthappa, who played in2007 World Cup, said, "It''s one of the finest grounds in thecountry. Everybody is disheartened, but we need to move on."

It was not just from the cricket fraternity, formerOlympians were equally dismayed at the snub meted out to Eden.

Former India footballer P K Banerjee said he wanted tosee the match but it would not be possible now.

"Thousands of fans have been deprived and the fault isnot theirs. It''s really sad. I have not gone to the Eden inthe past few years but the match was on my agenda. But it''snot possible now," the former India captain said.

Another former India football captain Chuni Goswami, whoalso played for Bengal in Ranji Trophy, said time was aconstraint and felt CAB''s planning went horribly wrong.

"We should have given priority to the renovation work. Ihad a faint idea about the fate of Eden. So I''m disappointedbut it is not exactly unexpected. The authorities becameover-confident to do everything at a time when they shouldhave done it in parts. Things could have been different hadthe CAB planned their work better," he said. (More) PTI TAP CRSSC

Drawing parallel with the Commonwealth Games mess, hockey Olympian Gurbux Singh blamed it on the Indian mentalitythat always ignores deadlines.

"Look at London. The stadiums are ready though theOlympics are scheduled to be held in 2012. It is unimaginableto think that the World Cup will be held in India and therewill be no India match at Eden Gadens," Singh rued.

Former India Davis Cup captain Jaidip Mukerjea said Edenis like the historic Lord''s.

"Sad that Kolkata will not be holding India vs Englandmatch. I think it is the fault of the organisers. The ICC gavethem a lot of chances but they had no option but to drop thevenue (for the India fixture)," he said.

Veteran Gopal Bose, who played for India in one ODI andwas a peer to the great Sunil Gavaskar, said unfortunate wouldbe an understatement.

Blaming it on the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), hesaid, "The CAB missed three deadlines. I don''t know exactlywhat happened but I feel that we were a bit over confident. Itcould also be a case of an ego clash."

Former India glovesman Saba Karim said it was a sadmoment for the entire East Zone.

"A lot of people had plans to watch the India-Englandmatch at the Eden as both the teams are in good form. Maybe itserves as a wake-up call for the people involved in it," Sabasaid.

Former India opener Devang Gandhi said he was equallydisheartened.

"We were all looking forward to an India match in theWorld Cup. I feel the ICC was firm in what they wanted despitethe venue''s successful history of international matches. Butthen, the ICC overlooked everything."

Bengal''s 1989-90 Ranji Trophy-winning captain SambaranBanerjee said India-England match was one of the most excitingfixtures of Group B.

"Having won the Ashes, England are in a great form. It isextremely unfortunate not to see them playing at the Eden,that too against India. It''s thoroughly unprofessional and wemust ensure that we do not repeat such mistakes in future,"Banerjee, now the state selection committee chairman, said.

Former India middle-order batsman Ashok Malhotra,however, argued that if Mumbai''s Wankhede stadium was given anextension by the ICC then why not to Eden.

"The ground and the wicket (here) is ready. If theWankhede is given an extension, then why not Eden? I feelthat the ICC was also a little hasty in their decision." PTITAP CR SSC

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