International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat virtually ruled out any possibility of an India match being held at the Eden Gardens though the three World Cup fixtures at the venue next month are expected to be held as per schedule.
“I have received a preliminary report (after yesterday’s inspection) and the progress has been very good since January 25. In all likelihood,the remaining three matches will be held as per schedule,” Lorgat told mediapersons at a promotional event announcing ICC’s tie-up with Hyundai Motors.
Eden Gardens was originally allotted four World Cup matches but the India-England game originally scheduled there on February 27 was shifted to Bangalore due to under-preparedness of the stadium.
The three remaining matches scheduled to be held at the venue are South Africa vs Ireland (March 15),Netherlands vs Ireland (March 18) and Zimbabwe vs Kenya (March 20).
When asked whether there is any possibility of shifting the India vs Ireland game from Bangalore to Kolkata,Lorgat did not sound too optimistic.
“That will be extremely difficult. A shifting requires all sorts of logistical changes which may not be possible in such a short duration,” Lorgat said,giving clear indication about the end of any hopes that CAB harboured about having at least one India match at the Eden Gardens.
Lorgat re-iterated ICC’s stand of ‘zero tolerance’ towards corruption in the game.
“It’s an unfortunate reality but greed is not restricted to any particular region or city. We have a measure of such activities and the perpetrators will certainly be brought to book,” he said.
As someone who has always been vocal about introduction of legalised betting in India,Lorgat said,”If one legalises betting then it will be far easier to manage the issue of temptation towards corruption. In countries like Australia,England,there is a regulatory industry. Wherever betting is illegal,things tend to go underground.”
The ICC chief executive termed co-hosts India as the “team that will go the distance.”
Lorgat dismissed the notion that not being able to employ ‘Hot-Spot’ for the World Cup was a setback for the ICC.
“I won’t call it a setback. We always knew that there wasn’t enough Hot Spot cameras that could have been deployed for all matches. However,we have the other set of parameters needed to to run the Umpires’ Decision Review System in place which will definitely reduce the errors in decision.”