Mumbai: The decision to drop Eden Gardens as host of a high-profile World Cup match has been greeted with dismay in India and prompted calls to give arguably the country’s most famous ground another chance.
Eden Gardens failed to meet deadlines for renovations to the stadium, causing the International Cricket Council to change the venue for the Feb. 27 match between India and England.
“We all were looking forward to this match. We all were dying to see a renovated Eden Gardens which was already looking so beautiful,” former India batsman Arun Lal, now a commentator, told reporters.
“Every cricket fan, every Kolkatan will be devastated by this.”
Nearly 100,000 people screaming at the top of their voices make Eden Gardens one of the most atmospheric cricket grounds in the world.
“Is there no chance of this decision being reversed? I am just hoping that they can reconcile,” Lal said.
Former India opening batsman Chetan Chauhan shared the view.
“I would suggest to the ICC and the Indian board that the Eden Gardens should be given another opportunity,” Chauhan said.
“They should be given about 7-10 days. The game is on Feb 27 and there is still a lot of time.”
“If they don’t give them one more chance, I think they will deny a great centre and cricket-loving people the opportunity of watching a high-profile World Cup match.”
Eden Gardens, which hosted the 1987 World Cup final, will stage three other matches on March 15, 18 and 20, none of which feature the home side.
A furious Madan Lal, a member of India’s 1983 World Cup-winning team, said the organisers should be taken to task.
“One question is why was the stadium not ready?,” he said.
“Once a deadline was given, they should have completed work before that deadline.”
“It’s not about the venue but about the people who have lost everything now.”
Former ICC chief Jagmohan Dalmiya heads the Cricket Association of Bengal, which is based at Eden Gardens.