With Kali Puja on Nov 12, Pakistan-England game at Eden may be rescheduled

Local security agencies have reportedly raised concerns over the World Cup match between Pakistan and England on November 12, which coincides with Kali Puja.

If the BCCI and ICC decide to accommodate another date change, then Pakistan will have a third change in schedule.

This is after rescheduling of India vs Pakistan game (October 14 instead of 15 in Ahmedabad) and Sri Lanka vs Pakistan game (now on October 10 in Hyderabad instead of October 12).

The Ahmedabad Police had told the BCCI that it would find it difficult to take care of security on October 15 which happens to be the first day of the Hindu festival of Navaratri.

The ICC and BCCI had released the schedule at a grand ceremony on June 27 but now the revised schedule is yet to be published as it has completely gone haywire.

Kali Puja is a second biggest festival in West Bengal, and thousands of local clubs organise festivities with a large police deployment required to maintain law and order situation across the length and breadth of the city.

While CAB president Snehasish Ganguly denied of any “official request” for a change in schedule, senior office-bearers in CAB are well aware that Kolkata Police hs already raised this issue.

“Kolkata Police has cited concerns to provide security for the match slated on Diwali. We have informed the ICC and BCCI to reschedule it and if does not happen we would inform this to the the chief minister,” a senior CAB office-bearer, who was part of the meeting with the 17-member ICC and BCCI inspection team, said.

In such a scenario, it remains to be seen whether ICC agrees for another schedule change.

CAB chief Ganguly gave a guarded response, while talking to reporters after the ICC’s inspection and meeting that lasted for more than three hours.

“We have not yet got anything officially from the Kolkata Police,” Snehasish, elder brother of former BCCI president and India captain Sourav Ganguly, said.

“Unless we get something officially, we can’t inform the ICC. Security issue is being taken care of by the Kolkata Police. That is not our look-out. If we get anything we will inform ICC.”

The CAB top-brass, incidentally, had gone to meet Kolkata Police officials at their Lalbazaar headquarters a couple of days back.

Snehasish however termed it a “courtesy call”.

“We went to Kolkata Police for a courtesy visit two days ago, we had a discussion with them. We schedule, plan and how we are preparing the stadium were discussed,” he said.

However with multiple changes in schedule, the question that has cropped up is that whether the local security agencies were taken into confidence while chalking up the dates for the World Cup.

ICC team satisfied

A six-member ICC team led by events senior manager Sarah Edgar, sponsorship and broadcast officials Sybil Fernandes and Ruchika Rana along with 11 officials from BCCI and the broadcast wing earlier inspected the club house, press box and the galleries which were undergoing full-scale renovation.

Snehasish said they were overall happy with the renovation work which will be finished ahead of the deadline.

The ICC team will again visit in a second round of inspection in the second week of September.

“They don’t have much observations. They are satisfied with the progress work, they are very happy with the club house, media centre and corporate box work,” he said.

“There were a little bit of issues in washroom, and broadcast people have a few demands as they have a bit of space constraints for commentary box. We are trying our best to carve out some more space for them. Overall, they are happy with the inspection. Looking at the progress, we will be finishing our work before the deadline,” he said.

The capacity of the Eden Gardens will remain at 65,500, but the iconic venue will have a new electronic scoreboard, while the existing one will be changed.

Club house, dressing rooms, corporate boxes and all toilets in the stadium are undergoing full renovation.