CAB president Sourav Ganguly says he is delighted with the decision to relocate the marquee India-Pakistan World T20 group stage clash from Dharamshala to his home city Kolkata. The former India captain termed the shifting of venue from Dharamshala as an accident for Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association but said the iconic Eden Gardens was prepared to host the much-anticipated match on March 19.
“It must be a sad moment for them for no fault of theirs. I feel for Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association and Dharamsala. I sympathise with Anurag Thakur and the people of Himachal for what has happened. It is one of the best stadiums in the country and could have hosted the game very easily,” the Cricket Association of Bengal president said after ICC CEO Dave Richardson confirmed in a press conference that the India-Pakistan clash was relocated to the hallowed Eden Gardens.
After days of speculation regarding the Pakistan team’s security in Dharamshala after the Himachal Pradesh government said they cannot provide security assurances and asked Anurag Thakur to shift the match, the ICC finally announced that the match would be held in Kolkata citing security concerns. Pakistan’s preference for Kolkata and the CAB’s persistence ensured Eden Gardens pipped Mohali and Bangalore to earn the hosting rights of the biggest group stage match of the World T20.
Ganguly sympathized with Dharamshala and recalled how the Eden Gardens lost the India-England game in the 2011 World Cup. “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 in a press conference on Wednesday evening.
The CAB president, however, said that despite the magnitude of the encounter, it will just like any other game for Eden Gardens. “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.”
Ganguly said the CAB were keen to host an India game in the World T20, but the BCCI always replied with ‘but you have the final’. The former skipper was thankful to the BCCI for giving Eden Gardens the high-profile clash.
“We are thankful to BCCI for awarding this match to us. We are one of the best grounds in the world and it’s looking outstanding.”
With the 11th-hour rescheduling threatening to be a hassle in terms of issue and distribution of tickets, Ganguly pointed out that it has to be done and won’t be a hassle.
“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 to do it. We keep doing the same thing every day.”