MUMBAI // While India struggles to get ready for next month's Commonwealth Games in Delhi, organisers of next year's cricket World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have struck an altogether more confident note. Organisers have targeted the end of November for the final preparations for the venues, Ratnakar Shetty, the tournament director, said. "In some cases it may be extended to the end of December but that is the deadline," he said. "The ICC [International Cricket Council] team and the entire team of organisers will be visiting all 13 venues starting from November 18."
The event will be played at eight venues in India, three in Sri Lanka and two in Bangladesh, from February 19 to April 2 next year. Three stadiums in India - the Wankhede in Mumbai, Eden Gardens in Kolkata and the MA Chidambaram in Chennai - are undergoing major facelifts. "Out of the three venues undergoing development, Kolkata and Chennai already have the playing surface ready. The wickets are ready so there are no issues," Shetty said. "The only concern is how Mumbai comes up with respect to the playing surface. We are looking at the end of November for Wankhede to stage some Ranji Trophy matches."
Commonwealth Games organisers have come under fire from team officials complaining about sub-standard accommodation for athletes, with missed deadlines compounding the problems. Cricket organisers pledged they will not take any chances. "We have closed all our logistic issues. We have finalised the airlines, a major concern as teams will be flying in and out of the three countries," Shetty said. "The accommodation issues are resolved in all three countries and also the ground transport. We have closed on all these issues by the end of August."
Shetty strongly defended India's credentials as hosts. "The country has already hosted two cricket World Cups and a Asian Games successfully. "So if anybody has any doubt about India's ability to host world events, they are living in a fool's paradise," he said. Pakistan was also scheduled to co-host the World Cup but was stripped of the hosting rights because of the deteriorating security situation in the country.