Mohali emerges as alternative venue

December 1, 2008 | Cricket, General

The BCCI and the ECB are engaged in “positive discussions” to hold the two-Test series, which starts on December 11, with Mohali and Chennai believed to have been identified as the new venues. The BCCI said last week that Chennai would replace Mumbai as the host of the second Test, but it now turns out that discussions are being held on whether Chennai can host the first Test and Mohali the second.

The pre-Test practice match is also likely to be held at the venue of the first Test, underscoring reports that the ECB had made this request.

“The discussions are still going on and nothing has been finalised as yet,” MP Pandove, BCCI treasurer and secretary of the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA), which runs the Mohali venue, told Cricinfo. Pandove, however, refused to confirm the venue change.

What is certain is that Ahmedabad – the scene of serial bomb blasts three months ago – has been ruled out as the first Test venue considering its relative proximity to Mumbai, which was hit by a series of terror strikes last week.

Under the BCCI schedule revised following the terror strikes, the first Test was to be held as originally scheduled from Ahmedabad from December 11-15, and the second Test in Chennai from November 19-23. The pre-Test practice match between England and a Board President’s XI was to be held in Vadodara from December 5-7.

Chennai is now being considered for the first Test, possibly because it is seen as a venue with the least threat perception from the security point of view, and will help ease the immediate fears expressed by some of the England players on touring India. The ECB has specifically asked for a southern Indian venue for the second Test, instead of Mumbai, after the terror strikes.

Hugh Morris, the managing director of the ECB, indicated that if England failed to reach India in time for the match against Board President’s XI, they might opt for a neutral venue provided the tour was on. “We have to keep our options open, and training in Abu Dhabi is definitely an option,” he said.

Source:Cricket News

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