Gardens fail to blossom in time as England’s flagship match is moved

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England’s second World Cup match against India will not now take place at Eden Gardens after an ICC inspection team determined the venue would not be ready to host the fixture.

The Group B match against the co-hosts in the 100,000-capacity stadium in Kolkata was set to be one of the highlights of the campaign for Andy Flower’s side, who must wait to hear where the February 27 fixture will be moved to.

Four other grounds were also inspected having missed previous completion deadlines but the ICC team approved Colombo, Hambantota and Pallekele in Sri Lanka pending minor completion work, as well as Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.

Concerns were raised over Eden Gardens in respect to “cricket operations, media, broadcast and sponsorship facilities.”

The venue is also due to host two further matches, between Ireland and Holland on March 18 and Kenya v Zimbabwe two days later, but the England against India match was their flagship fixture and was expected to be a sell-out.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: “All venues had ample time in which to prepare for World Cup matches. We had been understanding and had provided extensions to the deadline dates but unfortunately we are at a point where we must carefully manage our risks.

“The committee had provided venues with a deadline of November 30, 2010 to complete all construction work and then to be match-ready by December 31. An extension was granted for five venues, which were again inspected over the past week. Sadly, Eden Gardens was unable to meet the deadline and has not made sufficient progress to justify the level of confidence required to confirm that it would be ready in good time. This was no easy decision to take and while it is most unfortunate, it is absolutely necessary.”