World Cup doubt as England venue axed

FRESH doubts were raised about the suitability of the subcontinent as a venue for the upcoming World Cup after the International Cricket Council adjudged one of India’s most iconic venues, Eden Gardens in Kolkata, not fit for purpose.

The 100,000 capacity stadium was due to host England’s Group B match against the co-hosts on 27 February, but Andy Flower’s side, having had their itinerary set in stone, will be forced into making hasty rearrangements once an alternative venue is selected.

Eden Gardens was one of five venues inspected having missed previous completion deadlines but the ICC team approved Colombo, Hambantota and Pallekele in Sri Lanka pending minor completion work, as well as Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, the venue for the final.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat (left) said: “An extension was granted by the ICC for five venues, which were again inspected over the past week. Sadly, Eden Gardens in Kolkata was unable to meet the final deadline date.

“This was no easy decision to take and while it is most unfortunate, it is absolutely necessary.”

It is not the first time England have encountered difficulties when touring this part of the globe. Indeed, on their most recent visit in 2008 they were forced to return home following the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Staging the World Cup, along with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, offered Indian sport, and its infrastructure, the chance to regain credibility following last year’s Commonwealth Games, when several teams threatened to pull out because of unfinished or substandard facilities.