Sympathise with Dharamsala, but happy India-Pak tie is with Eden: Ganguly

Kolkata, March 9 (IANS) Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday said he sympathises with the people of Dharamsala but is happy that the World T20 India-Pakistan encounter has been now rescheduled to the Eden Gardens here on March 19.

International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO Dave Richardson announced the decision to shift the match to the eastern city at a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday citing security reasons. Also, Pakistan refused to play in Dharamsala and on Tuesday night the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) held back its team from travelling to India following security concerns over the game.

“Firstly, I feel for Himachal, Dharamsala. I sympathise with Anurag (Thakur, BCCI secretary) and the people of Himachal for what has happened — must be a very sad day for them but with no fault of theirs. It is one of the finest stadiums and it could have hosted this game easily,” Ganguly told reporters here.

“We are happy at the same time that it (the match) is with us. But this was going on for a while so we had requested the BCCI that we have one of the best grounds in the world and the ground is outstanding now. We wanted to have an India game, every other venue has an India game but we don’t have, only the final,” the former India captain added.

“We had requested the BCCI for the match, and we are thankful for them.”

Ganguly said the game was awarded to the iconic venue due to Eden’s rich history.

“Criteria is Eden Gardens, logistics is also an issue. It is also due to Eden Garden’s history,” he said.

However, Ganguly said the biggest challenge would be ticketing.

“It is tough, ticketing will be difficult. Preparation is not a problem, we prepare for every game. Handling tickets will be an issue,” he said.

“Pricing will be same as final. On March 12 we will get the ticket, two days for stamping and all so we will have around three days to distribute and sell.”

The 43-year-old said the high-voltage contest will be a tribute to late cricket administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya, who helmed the CAB for decades.

“It is a tribute to Jagmohan Dalmiya, he will be smiling from up there. He had given us the final when he was president of the BCCI,” he said.

Ganguly also stated the association is ready to take on the challenge.

“Ready to take on the challenge. It does not make much of a difference. We just have to stage a game. The ground is ready, the stadium is ready. It is just that another team comes and plays. Security will be tight,” he said.

“I feel sad for Dharmasala but in 2011 (World Cup), Eden lost matches as well.

He also did not label the Indo-Pak contest as the biggest game in the tournament instead he asserted, “World Cup final is the biggest match.”

CAB joint secretary Avishek Dalmiya is said to have played a key role in getting the encounter here.

Speaking to the media he said: “We had mailed to the BCCI stating that we would be there in case of a reschedule. And now they have given it to us.”

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