ICC president bowled over by beauty of Kerala

Published: Saturday, April 8, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kochi:International Cricket Council (ICC) President Ehsan Mani praised Kochi as a good venue to host matches saying that most of the facilities at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium were on par with those elsewhere in the country.

Speaking at a function organised by the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) last night to felicitate him, Mr Mani said the BCCI must consider holding more matches at this venue.

However, it would be better if the KCA could take the stadium on lease from the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) to ensure proper upkeep and maintenance of the ground and other facilities, he added.

He especially pointed out the need for some arrangements to spare the spectators of the high levels of heat and humidity inside the stadium.

''If such facilities could be added to the existing structure, the Kochi stadium could be one of the bests in India,'' he added.

Mr Mani was specially bowled over by the crowd response. Despite the heat, the fourth ODI between India and England was played here on April six to an almost full stadium of over 50,000 capacity, he observed.

''A good crowd response makes playing at a venue all the more satisfying for the teams,'' he added.

Praising Kerala's abundant natural beauty, he quipped that had he come here before, he would have suggested shifting the ICC headquarters to Kerala.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium has so far hosted five ODIs, including the April six India-England face-off here on April six. It made its debut in 1998 with an India Vs Australia match. Keralites then had to wait for two more years before the India Vs South Africa ODI was played in 2000. While an India-Zimbabwe match was held in 2002, it was another three-year wait for the India Vs Pakistan battle here in April last year.

The holding of another ODI with a gap of just one year has thrilled cricket lovers here. They hope to see their favourite players more often in action at Kochi.

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