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CAB president Snehasish Ganguly- The Uncut

By PTI

KOLKATA: Having edged out Chennai and Bangalore in the race to host a World Cup semifinal, Cricket Association of Bengal president Snehasish Ganguly on Tuesday said the “aura” of the iconic Eden Gardens boosted their case.

Chennai and Bengaluru were also in the race to host one of the semifinals but the Indian Cricket Board and ICC awarded the game to the historic venue in Kolkata.

The other semifinal will be held in Mumbai.

“There were a lot of talks going around in the media whether Eden Gardens will get any good matches or not, but I chose to just keep quiet,” Snehasish told reporters at the Eden Gardens after the World Cup venues were announced.

Overall, the city will host five matches of the World Cup including the second semifinal on November 15 and India versus South Africa (November 5) in the group stage.

ALSO READ | 2023 ODI World Cup: Tournament to begin on Oct 5, IND vs PAK on Oct 15

The CAB president further said he met BCCI secretary Jay Shah on the sidelines of the Women’s Premier League and “convinced” him after showing their grand renovation plans for the World Cup.

While the CAB has completely facelifted the press box and media centre, it’s also renovating the club house which will be completed by August.

“There was never any question mark over Eden Gardens, we just had to make some renovation of the old structure and he (Jay Shah) was convinced after seeing our plans,” Snehasish said.

But the CAB president said he was unsure of getting the semifinal till it was announced on Tuesday.

“I tried my best to convince him. You can’t deny Eden Gardens a big match. There is an aura about Eden Gardens. What we needed was little bit of renovation. It all started four months back. It was not easy but not difficult also. It’s the result of our hard work. We had gone through a lot of tension to get these five matches,” he added.

Pakistan had their “preference” to play at the Eden Gardens and two of their group matches will be here — versus Bangladesh (November 5) and England (November 12).

They would return to Kolkata should they make the semifinal.

And, if India and Pakistan are pitted against each other in the semifinal, the blockbuster clash would be held at the Eden Gardens.

Citing example of the T20 World Cup India-Pakistan clash in 2016 which was moved out of Dharmasala due to security reasons, Snehasish said: “Pakistan have played previously in Kolkata. Their preference was first Kolkata than Bangalore and Chennai. It also clinched in favour of us.”

Security would be a big issue with World Cup slated in the midst of the Durga Puja and Diwali festive season.

The first match in Kolkata is four days after Dussehra, while the England versus Pakistan fixture is slated on Diwali.

“Life itself is a challenge. You have to take it or give it up. We have in the past have hosted International matches during a festivity — the India-Sri Lanka ODI (January 12) was held during the Gangasagar Mela. Kolkata Police has always cooperated and we hope for a smooth conduct this time too,” Snehasish said.

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