City gets Feb 27 tie; Chinnaswamy ready

Fully prepared, says KSCA president Anil Kumble

City gets Feb 27 tie; Chinnaswamy ready

All is well: KSCA president Anil Kumble (centre), Indian batsman Rahul Dravid and British Deputy High Commissioner Richard Hyde are all smiles on Monday after a meeting to discuss the preparations for the World Cup match between India and England. DH photo

On Sunday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India had suggested Bangalore as the alternative venue after the ICC expressed its inability to host the match at the Eden Gardens, where construction work is far from over. Confirming the move to Bangalore, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said, “This decision now clarifies and gives us certainty over the fixture. We can now work with our various partners and stakeholders to make sure that match -- along with the rest of the tournament -- is all it should be.”

The Chinnaswamy stadium had emerged the front-runner immediately after the ICC first announced last Friday that it was moving the February 27 game out of Kolkata. The City will now host five matches, including two involving India.

Karnataka State Cricket Association president Anil Kumble was understandably delighted with the development which makes Bangalore the only venue in the country to stage two matches in which the hosts are playing. “We are ready for the game and everything will be in place," said the leg-spinner, taking justifiable pride in the carpet-like Chinnaswamy outfield.

Kumble and fellow former India skipper Rahul Dravid had discussions on Monday afternoon with Richard Hyde, the British Deputy High Commissioner based in Bangalore. Hyde visited the Chinnaswamy as part of normal protocol ahead of any match involving England, though the ace leggie quickly pointed out that it was sheer coincidence that he came to the stadium on the same day when Bangalore was named the new host for the February 27 fixture.

"This meeting was scheduled much in advance, and it was to discuss the preparations and arrangement for the match between England and Ireland here on March 2. It was later that we got the February 27 game also involving England. Obviously, that match was discussed too. The discussions centred around facilities for the players and the public, and security arrangements. It was a routine meeting,” Kumble said. The stadium is being given a much-needed face-lift. Already, the lights have been refurbished in keeping with the ICC requirements, and finishing touches are being applied to the galleries and the press box, which will be an enclosed, air-conditioned structure.

Bangalore’s tryst with the 2011 World Cup will begin long before the opening match here. The Indian team will have a short camp, beginning on February 9, ahead of its first warm-up game against Ricky Ponting’s Australia on February 13. A second warm-up tie is scheduled for February 15, between the Aussies and South Africa, and the KSCA will then get more than ten days to dress up for the big occasion. The February 27 match will be India’s first game of this World Cup on home turf after they set the tournament rolling in the inaugural match against Bangladesh on February 19. India are also scheduled to play Ireland at the Chinnaswamy stadium on March 6 as they mount a challenge for their second World Cup crown.

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