Buddhadeb calls Pawar over Eden match

Kolkata: ICC President Sharad Pawar tonight responded to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee`s plea to bring back the India-England World Cup match shifted from the Eden Gardens here.

Sources close to the chief minister said Pawar responded to the Chief Minister`s telephone call and is understood to have assured him to allow Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) to prepare the required infrastructure at the Eden Gardens till February 7.

"A little ray of hope is found at the end of tunnel for the match to be brought back at the Eden Gardens," the state`s Sports Minister Kanti Ganguly told PTI tonight.

The Sports Minister said the Chief Minister`s intervention to return the India-England World Cup match, already shifted due to unpreparedness at the Eden Gardens by the ICC scheduled for February 27, had found a "positive response".

"Now it is a challenge for CAB to fully prepare the infrastructure at the Eden Gardens. The state government is ready to extend all cooperation to CAB in this regard," he said.

"We will come to know by tomorrow afternoon when the ICC president Pawar will give us appointment to submit our views before him," Kanti Ganguly said.

To sort out the matter and to ensure return of the shifted match to the Eden Gardens, the Chief Minister intervened in the matter by asking his two ministers – Asok Bhattacharya (Urban Development) and Kanti Ganguly - to make a joint plea along with former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly before the ICC to bring back the match to the Eden Gardens.

Asked about the development, CAB Joint Secretary Biswarup Dey told PTI that "I came to know about this from the media. If the Chief Minister has spoken to Pawar, then we will definitely have a strong chance to get back the match. We are very hopeful of a positive result as we have already said that the venue will be ready by February 7, twenty days ahead of the scheduled match."

Earlier in the evening, CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee at his south Kolkata residence late tonight, presumably to discuss the matter.