Eden walks the line

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee have joined hands with the Cricket Association of Bengal.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata | Published: January 30, 2011 7:05:52 am

Dalmiya knocks on FM,CM doors to pull off a miracle; Buddha speaks to Pawar

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee have joined hands with the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Jagmohan Dalmiya in an effort to pull off a miracle. At the moment though it seems they are fighting a losing battle.

The mood in the CAB headquarters at the Eden Gardens was sombre after news spread that the ICC has rejected the CAB’s request to give them a deadline extension till February 7. “ICC could not accommodate the request. There was too much of logistics and too much of planning that would be involved,” ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat reportedly wrote in an e-mail to the BCCI president Shashank Manohar. Dalmiya had requested Manohar to pursue their case after the Eden Gardens was ruled out as the venue for the February 27 World Cup match between India and England.

Dalmiya,however,didn’t give up. He first had a telephonic conversation with the Chief Minister and then in the evening,had a lengthy meeting with Finance Minister. After that Dalmiya spoke to Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee who was touring north Bengal. Around mid-evening,ICC president Sharad Pawar said that Eden’s fate is not yet decided and a final decision would be taken only on Sunday. “I will get the report this evening. After that,an ICC committee will deliberate on whether Eden will host the matches or not,” Pawar said.

“Fans from other countries would also be coming to see the World Cup and they have made their travel plans much in advance. Any last-minute change would hassle them,” he added.

It’s really baffling that the ICC CEO and president are not concurring on the issue which has confused everybody.

“We haven’t received any official communication from the ICC. Maybe they have informed their decision to the BCCI. But if that was the case,the BCCI would have forwarded the mail to us,” CAB joint-secretary Biswarup Dey told The Sunday Express.

Earlier,Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had intervened to bring back the match to Eden. He asked two of his ministers to get in touch with Sourav Ganguly and and put in all possible efforts to bring back the match to Kolkata. State Urban Development Minister Asok Bhattacharya said that he,along with Sourav and Sports Minister Kanti Ganguly will meet Pawar and will plead to the world body to reconsider its decision. They have already sought an appointment with Pawar. Late on Saturday,Bhattacharjee himself called Pawar over the Eden match and a ray of hope was learnt to have found.

Dalmiya has also requested Pranab Mukherjee to look into the matter during their meeting at the latter’s residence. Mukherjee appears to be the last hope for the veteran cricket administrator who has given an undertaking that the Eden Gardens would be ready by February 7. From Sunday,the government engineers are taking over the job to ensure the deadline is met.

Meanwhile,it is reliably learnt that the ICC’s venue inspection team has forwarded a letter to the BCCI recommending that all four World Cup matches be shifted out of Eden.

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