|Delays in renovation work have cost the co-hosts a show-piece match at Eden Gardens [AFP]
Kolkata's Eden Gardens has been dropped as the venue of the high-profile India v England match at next month's cricket World Cup due to delays in renovation work, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Thursday.
The ICC dropped Eden Gardens for one of the showcase matches of the group stage because it wasn't able to finalise or confirm facilities for cricket operations, media and sponsors.
"Regrettably, Eden Gardens has not made sufficient progress to justify the level of confidence required to confirm that the venue would be ready in good time,'' ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement.
"This was no easy decision to take and while it is most unfortunate, it is absolutely necessary.''
Indian co-hosts of the cricket World Cup were embarrassed after the ruling. An alternative venue, reportedly Bangalore, was being pursued by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to placate thousands of ticket-holders. Eden Gardens will seat 82,000 when renovations are complete.
A committee report approved three Sri Lanka venues, Colombo, Hambantota and Pallekele, and Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, the venue for the final, subject to minor finishing work being completed.
The report, however, said Eden Gardens would not be ready within an acceptable time frame to host the match between India and England.
The ICC would not confirm three other matches scheduled for Eden Gardens - South Africa-Ireland on March 15, Ireland-Netherlands on March 18, and Kenya-Zimbabwe two days later.
Eden Gardens was one of five venues which failed to meet deadlines on November 30 and December 31, but became the only venue which failed the final extended deadline of last Tuesday.