Kolkata: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly termed the shifting of marque India-Pakistan World Twenty20 clash out of Dharamsala as an accident for Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association but said the historical Eden Gardens was ready to host the high profile match on March 19. (Dharamsala Loses India vs Pakistan ICC World T20 Match to Kolkata)
“It must be a sad moment for them for no fault of theirs. I feel for Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association and Dharamsala. I sympathise wih Anurag Thakur and people of Himachal for what has happened. It’s one of the best stadia of the country and could have hosted the game very easily,” the Cricket Association of Bengal president said after the ICC decided the match to Eden due to security concerns.
After days of speculation and following pressure from Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the ICC announced its decision to shift the venue to Eden Gardens citing security concerns. (T20 World Cup: As Politics Trumps Cricket, ICC Unlikely to Punish BCCI for Dharamsala Chaos)
Sympathizing with Dharamsala, Ganguly remembered that Eden Gardens too lost the India-England World Cup match in 2011.
“This is an accident which has happened. It has caused inconvenience to the people of Dharamshala. We had lost a match in 2011 as well,” Ganguly said.
He, however, said for CAB it is just like hosting one more match and the Eden Gardens is ready in all its grandeur. (ICC World T20: Pakistan Cricket Board Welcomes India-Pakistan Game Venue Shift, But Team Departure Still on Hold)
“We are ready. I don’t think there’s any difference. It’s just another team who comes, plays and goes. We just have to host another game. Security will be tight but the playing conditions remain the same.”
Thanking BCCI for awarding the match Ganguly said, “We are happy that we got this game. This was going on for a while. We had requested the BCCI as we did not have an India game, while every other seven venues had. BCCI always said you have the final.
“We are thankful to BCCI for awarding this match to us. Criterion was Eden Gardens. It’s historical. We are one of the best grounds in the world and it’s looking outstanding.”
Asked whether the Eden was best suited for the marquee clash, Ganguly disagreed: “I don’t think so. India have 20 venues which can host World Cups. We have superb stadiums all over the country.”
With the sudden addition of a match that too the commercially lucrative India-Pakistan clash, handling tickets would be an issue, Ganguly pointed out.
“Preparation and planning is not that difficult we prepare for every game, we try and make the best for every game. I don’t think it that’s a problem from that point of view. Handling and distribution will be an issue. We just have do it. We keep doing the same thing every day.”
Asked about the wicket, he said, “It will be full of runs, what else.”