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Will cricket World Cup venues be ready on time?

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David Bond | 08:46 UK time, Monday, 10 January 2011

With memories of the chaos surrounding India's preparations for the Commonwealth Games still fresh in the mind, the country is facing more international embarrassment, this time over its plans for the cricket World Cup.

An inspection team from the International Cricket Council is due to fly to India and Sri Lanka next week to examine progress at a number of venues which have fallen way behind schedule.

The World Cup kicks off on 19 February but, Eden Gardens in Calcutta, venue for England's group game against India on 27 February, and Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, where the final will be played on 2 April, are not finished.

It's worth remembering, of course, that every major sporting tournament faces questions about its readiness just before it starts. They always start on time and the problems tend to be forgotten afterwards.

As with last year's Delhi Commonwealth Games, the Indian authorities are sure to throw manpower at the stadiums in an effort to have them ready on time.

But if the ICC is unhappy with what it sees next week then it is prepared to take games away from those venues. Chennai could step in and stage any games which can't be played in those venues under renovation.

Eden Gardens photographed on 5 January, showing the stadium is nowhere near ready

Eden Gardens photographed 5 January shows there is still a long way to go Photo: Getty

According to reports in India, Eden Gardens, the spiritual home of Indian cricket, is the biggest worry. A new roof has not been finished, many seats have not yet been fitted and a wall outside the venue collapsed.

An ICC inspection report leaked to the Indian newspaper the Deccan Herald last month highlighted Wankhede stadium and Eden Gardens as not certain to meet a 31 January deadline.

The ICC also has concerns over three venues in Sri Lanka - Colombo, Pallakelle and Hambanota - and is anxious about the way ticket sales have been handled by tournament organisers.

The ICC will be desperate for a well attended and passionate World Cup, after the 2007 tournament in the West Indies was criticised for being devoid of Caribbean charm and many matches were played in half-empty stadiums.

World Twenty20 champions England begin their campaign against Netherlands on 22 February in Nagpur. But their game against India in Calcutta could be affected by the uncertainty over Eden Gardens.

India's reputation was badly damaged by the last minute rush to be ready for the Commonwealth Games in October.

The fall out is still being felt with an Indian Central Bureau of Investigation into senior figures from the organising committee, including the chairman Suresh Kalmadi, who has been asked to explain a series of financial irregularities.

India might be one of the coming global powers and the financial driving force behind world cricket.

But, despite reassuring the ICC everything will be finished on time, by leaving it so late for the cricket World Cup they are risking more international humiliation.


  • Comment number 1.

    The ICC ought to keep these kinds of costruction problems in mind next time they convene to award the games to a given nation (or as in this case, a set of nations).

    This kind of tardiness is inexcusable and disappointing.

  • Comment number 2.

    Every late running sports project now seems to generate headlines. But I think security and safety must come top of the list for any event be it the cricket or our own Olympics....

    I get the impression that Indian cricket has been splintered by the creation of the all powerful IPL. Bit like the Premier league & FA.

    Doubt the ICC can change anything at this late stage maybe handout a small fine or two....

  • Comment number 3.

    I cant speak about the construction work but rest assured that each and every match in the subcontinent will go absolutely jam packed.For a country of a billion to sell out ticket is one which can be done with eyes closed.In fact as usual fans will have to deal with 80,000 being squeezed into a 70,000 stadium, a regular occurrence during the Ipl and international cricket matches

  • Comment number 4.

    Is that bamboo scaffolding I see in that picture??? I know its strong but its no substitute for steel! No wonder walls and things are collapsing

  • Comment number 5.

    This is almost as bad as the Wembley stadium shambles...

  • Comment number 6.

    Would they like England to step in as hosts? We have the grounds to be able to host it tomorrow. Oh wait a minite, Where have we heard that before...

  • Comment number 7.

    This is the new shape of Major/Mega Events if the global governing bodies want to keep pushing the boundaries in terms of new territories and new hosts.

    It just goes to show that there is no relationship between having a desire to host an event and the technical ability to deliver it i.e. being well intentioned only works up to a point.

    Even when an event which can generate near religious levels of public support and fervour, it doesn't guarantee that it will be run efficiently, effectively and professionally.

    All that said, it'll be all right on the night I'm sure, and the support (particularly for home teams) will make it an event to remember.

  • Comment number 8.

    Just hope it is sorted out in time. I would have thought that the ICC, bearing in mind the comonwealth games would have visited the venues a lot sooner than next week? It would be a shame from englands point of venue and other teams to not play at eden gardens, as i know from the last few tours england have missed out on playing their as the bcci want to take the game around the country.

  • Comment number 9.

    "As with last year's Delhi Commonwealth Games, the Indian authorities are sure to throw manpower at the stadiums in an effort to have them ready on time."

    Let us hope it will be 'manpower' this time unlike the cheap, more like free, child-labour the Indian authorities used to finish jobs before the Commonwealth Games. No doubt if there are any seats that need to be bolted down they will head to the streets to round up some more labour, just in time for the first over.

  • Comment number 10.

    Congratulations to David Bond on finally reporting about the status of cricket stadiums in Mumbai and Kolkata. Many national TV news channels and print media in India are reluctant to write or broadcast about the slow progress of the stadium construction work for the world cup, as they are scared to confront the organizers of the world cup and the BCCI.

  • Comment number 11.

    This, on the day that Sepp Blatter has put forward the idea that India should host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

  • Comment number 12.

    These type of concerns are always going to come from handing big sporting events to countries without the infastructure already in place, or with out the experience of building such large state of the art facilities. As all sporting bodies seem intent on using their show piece tournaments as a way of growing sport in specific countries (a policy I agree with up to a cup in Qatar is a step too far), we will see many more examples of this in the furtur.

    Having said that; as long as the stadia is finished then the cricket world cup in India will be a great, great event. I have spent a decent amount of time in India and their love for cricket makes the English passion for football appear nonchalant. As long as tickets are affordable for the ordinary population then the atmosphere in the stadium will be amazing.

  • Comment number 13.

    weezer@ 12:05
    Bamboo scaffolding is used all over Asia, it is not part of the strengthening of the structure it is taken down after the building is complete and is basically for access.
    Now, the question over walls falling down may well indicate that the structural steel used has been inadequate and I could certainly believe that, although the article does not make it clear if it was a newly constructed wall, or if someone drove a bulldozer into it!

  • Comment number 14.

    #10 (Dr Shubakar) - I'm actually surprised that the Indian media have not highlighted this issue yet, given that the World Cup is just over a month away. This will probably be a talking point now, as that the ICC may move the England-India game away from the iconic Eden Gardens.
    #11 (Blake Connolly) - As usual, Sepp is on the money (no... seriously he is):)
    The ICC may not convey a lot of confidence in the progress of the new stadiums, India's reputation as a global sports host will again be scrutinised and the building preparations will be frantic but the England-India game will probably go ahead in Eden Gardens (maybe after a few disparaging remarks from the British media in the lead up to that match).

  • Comment number 15.

    Two venues in SriLanka are ready- Pallakelle and Hambantota and Premadasa Stadium in Colombo is still under construction of certain stands but the pitches are ready as the Premier Tier A Semis and Finals were played there over the weekend although the final got rained off

  • Comment number 16.

    Royal Gooner #6....I'm sure the world is really glad of your offer, but remind me which months the tournament is being played in?

  • Comment number 17.

    To be honest Eden Gardens looks in better shape than the Commonwealth Games. Hardly a crisis when India has other alternative venues for cricket.
    It is like the trains in India, they turn up and get there eventually.

  • Comment number 18.


    Apologies, I have no idea about construction and wont pretend I do. Pure laymens approach as it looked pretty rickety!

    As for the wall, Id imagine it fell of its own accord as it would have been reported as an accident rather than as something to underline hasty construction, as I'm sure the bbc are above twisting the truth....

  • Comment number 19.

    Is this not the Commonwealth Games all over again? people complain about the stadia and buildings, then next thing it was an amazing show? Come on lets give these guys a break!

  • Comment number 20.

    Dont worry about the facilities, mud, dust and filth mate........... open your heart out this is indiaaaaaaaa...... drink moderate amounts everyday to keep away the worms and viruses....... hearty welcome to the BARMY ARMY on behalf of Indians everywhere....... enjoy the cup and cheerios mate..

  • Comment number 21.

    the tickets are easy enough to obtain legitimately on the internet. the potential issue may be that it seems that the internet is the only way of buying them, which may restrict many locals (though I may just be being spectacularly naive about the lack of internet access on the subcontinent).

    either way, i can't wait to be sat in the crowd on March 6 cheering our boys on against the Proteas!!

  • Comment number 22.

    Re 21 WelshySmog

    Tickets on the internet usually means the organizers are targeting those who are better off. Most of the cheapest internet tickets for India's games are 1000 Indian Ruppees-which is 14 pounds. Which is well outside the affordability range of most of the poorer Indian classes. But like all sports these days, they are targeting the middle-classes who can afford that. Most of India's games are sold out, so there are more than enough people who can buy them.

  • Comment number 23.

    If India, Sri Lanka and the others are not going to be ready, England or Australia should be the back-up plan.
    England have several stadia ready (with the exception of Edgbaston).
    So we have Lords, Oval, Trent Bridge, Old Trafford, Headingley.
    Ausralia have Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart, Perth and Adelaide.
    The ICC should have seen it coming with the Commonwealth fiasco so maybe a switch to another country would be the best idea so close to the start of the World Cup and to save the ICC embrassement.

  • Comment number 24.

    Forgot to mention Rose Bowl, Chester-le-street and Sophia Gardens in Cardiff (sorry to those counties I missed out!)

  • Comment number 25.

    #23 & #24 - Look, I know global warming is happening. But I don't think February 2011 is going to be warm enough for cricket in England.
    Or are you suggesting that the World Cup be played indoors?
    Or maybe by forcing everyone to wear extra clothing, it is a cunning plan to get England to win the World Cup?

  • Comment number 26.

    By the way,is England ready for the Olympics?

  • Comment number 27.

    Typical Western whinging about the developing world, it's like a stuck record. We heard the same seemingly racist nonsense before the football Word Cup in South Africa and the Commonwealth Games in India.

  • Comment number 28.

    " 23. At 10:32pm on 10 Jan 2011, FoxesofNuneaton wrote:

    If India, Sri Lanka and the others are not going to be ready, England or Australia should be the back-up plan.
    England have several stadia ready (with the exception of Edgbaston)."

    Perhaps you've forgotten, but the WC is scheduled to start in FEBRUARY. There's a very good reason we don't play domestic cricket in February, and that is that the pitches are either rock hard or a bog and the chance of the weather not intervening is practically zero. It also gets dark at 4pm or before and the chance of rain is about 60%.

  • Comment number 29.

    Zoiks, I'm meant to be going to the Eden Garden Gardens game and only have a 3 day window in the country. Knowing the flaky infrastucture there as I do, I bet there's no chance of getting to any other city in time. Great work ICC!

  • Comment number 30.

    I still expect all the venues for the World Cup to be ready on time
    I think it's normal for countries like India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to leave the construction and preparations of the stadiums to the last minute.

    Everyone in those 3 countries knew that they will be hosting the Cricket World Cup in 2011 long time ago. It's a bit disappointing that did not start the construction and the preparations of the stadium a lot earlier.

    I expect most of the tickets for the matches to be sold. All 3 countries got massive cricket fan bases. I hope most of the stadiums are fully for most of the matches.

    It would not make any sense to bring the World Cup to England if the sub-continent is not ready on time. February is still in the winter season in England. It would not make any sense to bring the World Cup to England during the cold and rainy months that we usually get on February, March and April.

    Cricket can only be played during the summer in warm weather.

    Let's all hope all the stadiums are ready on time and we have a successful Cricket World Cup in the sub-continent.

    Only 38 days left!

  • Comment number 31.

    # 26:

    You can bet the family farm that England (more precisely, London) will be ready for the 2012 Olympics!

    You will not see the same kind of charade and embarassment evident at the recent Commonwealth Games.

  • Comment number 32.

    "If India, Sri Lanka and the others are not going to be ready, England or Australia should be the back-up plan". That was pretty obviously seen how England is ready to be used as backup venue when India was looking for a backup place to move IPL and it was moved to South Africa. Dude don't underestimate Indian super power, it can move whole tournament not just a game. I think this article written only because english playes were not picked up in IPL. There are enough issues here to focus on.

  • Comment number 33.

    ' You can bet the family farm that England (more precisely, London) will be ready for the 2012 Olympics!

    You will not see the same kind of charade and embarassment evident at the recent Commonwealth Games.'

    what you mean is the problems will not be highlighted by the BBC.

  • Comment number 34.

    keeping in view the 'poor' preparations, hope most english fans will stay in sunny england for the word cup .

  • Comment number 35.

    readng david boonds "journalistic" contribution ,why the term whinging pom is so popular becomes clear.

  • Comment number 36.

    For all those pessimists out there remember that the CWG went on much better than expected.In fact it was the best show ever.

    You guys donot understand Indians and their power of organisation.

    Mates remember we need to live in India to understand India.Sitting in London please donot express the oddities of India.You guys donot understand what you are talking.

    1.5 billion Indians.The permuations and combinations are wast and un imaginable.

    India is holding the richest Cricket Event the IPL.

    Mates WC is just another event.Please dono worry too much.Concentrate on preparing your teams. Indians are going to get you.

    My appeal move ICC HQO to India and all problems resolved once for all....

  • Comment number 37.


    U r bery, bery funny man!

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    What I fail to understand is why no one is taking into consideration the hotel and travel arrangements of the traveling fans if venues of some games would be moved?

  • Comment number 40.

    Having worked in India for the last ten years I can understand why the ICC raised concerns, the “Indian Way” often appears chaotic and confusing, the are often lots of people involved whom seem to be on the periphery yet always benefit. I have visited Eden Gardens many times and always been blown away by the sheer intensity of the crowd and occasion. The Indians may not always seem to be working in the way the West works but they do work and they do get the job done

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm hopeful that yet another cricketing spectacular will be evident in the sub continent and also hope that England can finally put on a show in the tournament (hope for a semi final spot at least) after years of under performing since Australia 1991 or 1992 (memory a bit hazy as to the exact year).

    Yes I'm concerned with the fact that the stadiums are behind schedule especially as the BCCI are the strongest of the national cricket organisations in terms of financial weel being. However the CWG ended up a pretty special occasion and it's not the first time the sub continent have hosted the Cricket World Cup and the previous 2 have been memorable.

    After the retention of the Ashes lets hope the CWC provdes some more memorable cricket.

  • Comment number 42.

    Here we go again! India has its own way to do things which will baffle Western countries. Did not India host the Commonwealth games last year despite all the exaggerations from the west? They still have another 33 days to finish the stadium. By they way, India hosts matches in 8 stadiums and only 2 are slightly behind the schedule. Come world cup, the noise, the passion and the entertainment will ridicule the English football fans! English football fans can never match those passions that will be shown in India/Srilanka/Bangaldesh during this world cup.

  • Comment number 43.

    By the way, do not forgot the workforce (people) available in India!

  • Comment number 44.

    To be honest, these kind of blogs will not going to affect the crowd in the stadium unlike the crowd that we witnessed during first few days of CWG. Cricket is a religion in India. Unless you have a first hand experience how a religous festival is celebrated in India, you will never understand how silly these exaggerated blogs to read.

  • Comment number 45.

    To the moderators, what is wrong with my previous, totally factual comment #38?

    Put it back up please, or at least give a decent reason for removal, instead of the kop-out you gave in your e-mail.

  • Comment number 46.


    Good, well if India have the workforce you claim they do, then they would have finished the stadiums months ago.

    And I do resent that comment about English football fans, English football fans are some of the best in the world and The Barmy Army itself (the best cricket fans) also includes football fans as well as cricket fans

  • Comment number 47.

    Sorry I just have to laugh at your comment on English Football fans. What you have written suggests that you have never been to India Vs England one dayer. English football fans are horrible when compared to the Indian cricket fans. There is so much true passion and entertainment among Indian cricket fans compared to the alcohol driven Hooliganism among English football Fans.

    Regarding the workforce, it's true it should have been ready a months ago but still we are not far....i guess you have read about the olypmic lies that UK has told the committee, have you?

  • Comment number 48.


    Alcohol driven hooliganism? Ha! get with the times, that idea belongs somewhere in the 1980. Well at least our stadium's going to be completed on time unlike some


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