England tour of India - Cricket: Practice match as scheduled at CCFC ground

Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2002, 20:00 [IST]
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Kolkata: Despite having cried hoarse about the poor workout facilities at the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club (CCFC) ground, the England team will return to the venue to play a practice match against a Bengal XI on Thursday.The team expressed its dissatisfaction over the facilities provided at the CCFC from the very first day, but decided to stick to its original programme of playing a practice match at the venue.The visitors, who reached the city on January 11 more than a week in advance to prepare for the six-match Limited Overs series against India, were originally scheduled to feature in two practice matches but had to cancel one after an additional One-dayer was included in the fixture.The practice match will be a 45-over affair and England has sought permission from the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) to try out all its batsmen during the course of the game. The CAB has agreed to the request. The CAB has named a rather young team for the practice match against the Englishmen who are eager to play at least one competitive match to try out their combinations before the series gets underway with a floodlit encounter at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.The Bengal team will be captained by Rohan Gavaskar and has a number of talented youngsters who have done reasonably well in the local league.Apart from former Test opener Devang Gandhi, the team does not have any other player who has played at the international or even at the highest level in domestic cricket. Regular Bengal players like Utpal Chatterjee, Nikhil Haldipur, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Deep Dasgupta and Wrichik Majumdar have not been given the opportunity to play. No spectators will be allowed to watch the practice match since the CCFC ground has no galleries. Apart from the club officials, only people involved in organising and conducting the game will be permitted to enter the ground as part of the unprecedented security arrangement. The visitors, who were scheduled to practice at the CCFC ground on Wednesday, have been allowed to workout at the Eden Gardens after their operations manager Phil Neale clarified that the team management had not made any adverse remarks about the facilities at the CCFC.CAB joint secretary Bablu Koley had written a letter to the England team management taking strong exception to its persistent criticism about the facilities. PTI

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