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08 December 2023

Inspectors visit Indian World Cup venues


Inspectors visited Mumbai's Wankhede stadium on Monday ahead of the cricket World Cup starting next month amid growing concern over delayed preparations for the six-week event.

The Wankhede ground, which has been completely rebuilt, and Kolkata's Eden Gardens are two venues attracting close attention from the International Cricket Council (ICC) inspection team.

Officials at the Mumbai Cricket Association confirmed the visit without giving further details, and the ICC team are due at Eden Gardens on Tuesday.

The World Cup, which is being hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, opens on February 19, with organisers rushing to overcome construction delays plaguing some venues.

The Mumbai stadium has undergone a two-year 55 million dollar renovation in preparation for its first World Cup fixture on March 13. It will also host the final on April 2.

But a leaked report by the ICC last month noted problems with the stadium's floodlights, glass that reflected into batsmen's eyes, an incorrectly located umpires' room and unsuitable anti-doping facilities.

Eden Gardens in Kolkata has major building work still to be completed before holding its first game on February 27, when India take on England.

Organisers of the World Cup have dismissed fears of a repeat of last year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, when many venues were badly delayed and scruffily finished.

"I am confident the ICC inspection team will be happy after the visit to Wankhede. They would have seen a miracle," ICC president Sharad Pawar, who also heads the Mumbai Cricket Association, said last week.