x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Confusion over venue

The tale of England's two-Test series in India could be heading for another twist.

ABU DHABI // The tale of England's two-Test series in India could be heading for another twist. Reports emerging from there suggest that the England and Wales Cricket Board are considering shifting the second Test venue from Mohali to Bangalore. The venue for the first Test - Chennai - has already received the security nod from the ECB security expert Reg Dickason. However officials are still trying to reach remote Mohali to assess the security arrangements there. It is believed that logistical problems with the flights and the response from England's fan base - the Barmy Army - have highlighted major drawbacks.

The main complaint is that the city is out of the way and there is a convoluted flight route involved. Also, Mohali is relatively close to the Pakistan border, defeating the purpose of England asking for venues in the southern parts of India, like Chennai. England are also unhappy about the dates because the second Test ends on Dec 23 giving them barely any time to get home for Christmas. And Mohali may just make that more difficult.

Mohali is a suburb on the outskirts of Chandigarh which is nearly 300kms away from New Delhi. Chandigarh has a very small and barely working airstrip in the middle of a military base and hence sees an odd couple of flights; all of them go through Delhi thus adding on huge amount of travel time. GS Walia, an official with the Punjab Cricket Stadium, said he had no update from the Indian board about any change in plans.

kshyam@thenational.ae