World Cup grounds given all-clear

International Cricket Council chief says 'fabulous progress' has been made as Mumbai and Kolkata prepare for tournament.

    Australia's Ricky Ponting bats in the nets in Bangalore ahead of the start of Cricket World Cup 2011 [GALLO/GETTY]

    Kolkata and Mumbai grounds have been given the final clearance to stage Cricket World Cup matches after concerns about their readiness, International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat said.

    "Those venues have all been squared off, they're ready," Lorgat told the Reuters news agency ahead of the February 19-April 2 tournament.

    "There isn't an issue about readiness of stadiums."

    This means only one match, India's fixture with England on February 27, had to be switched from Kolkata's Eden Gardens to Bangalore.

    Mumbai has been given the go-ahead to stage the final on April 2 as well as two other group-stage fixtures.

    "We felt they (Kolkata) would not be ready by February 27 but they had every opportunity to be ready for the matches (there) in March and we've got to the point now when all of the venues are going to be ready for the games scheduled," he said.

    "Mumbai made fabulous progress post the initial delays, the initial concerns, that were experienced back in December and when we came for that inspection in January we were satisfied with the progress.

    "So there isn't an issue about readiness of the stadiums."

    Similarly, Sri Lanka's three grounds were also said to be ready.

    A report from the ICC's World Cup inspection team is expected on Tuesday to confirm his comments.

    The ICC's bill of health will be a big relief to local organisers, particularly in India where the delays in preparing Commonwealth Games facilities last year in New Delhi proved a major embarrassment to a country determined to present a modern, efficient image to world audiences.

    Eden Gardens is one of the most prestigious in India but ICC inspectors found renovation work on the stand still unfinished in December and similarly, Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium needed completing.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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