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WASTE OF EDEN

The original sin is the failure to meet deadlines. The fall of Eden Gardens from the calendar of the forthcoming World Cup is not related to the loss of innocence but to the lack of competence and efficiency. Since there was no Satan to offer temptation, Jagmohan Dalmiya, the supremo of the Cricket Association of Bengal, will have to carry the can and hope that it isn’t one full of worms. Mr Dalmiya has one decent option available to him: he should own responsibility and step down. There shouldn’t be any attempt to find excuses. What happened is a colossal failure and an equally big mess. It is not as if the date of the World Cup schedule was announced suddenly and an unreal deadline imposed on the CAB. The date of the match and, therefore, the deadline were both known. Obviously, the CAB did not take the deadline seriously and believed that it — like most deadlines in India — was stretchable. Unfortunately for the CAB, the World Cup is organized by an international body and is therefore forced to adhere to certain standards. Moreover, it needs to be emphasized that every single piece of available evidence justifies the decision taken by the International Cricket Council. Eden Gardens is not ready to host an international match under the aegis of the ICC. There is little that can be more shameful than this for Eden Gardens, the CAB and the city of Calcutta.

Many would argue, and not unfairly, it must be said, that it is entirely apposite that Calcutta has lost the World Cup match. Calcutta does not deserve anything of an international stature. The reason for this is that the people who run most of the organizations in the city are clueless about global standards of performance and excellence. They like to think that since Calcutta and Bengal aspired for excellence in the 19th century, they can continue to do so today without anything to show for it. Calcutta has little respect for punctuality and deadlines. It has contempt for efficiency and accountability. It does not recognize quality. All these put together result in a complete denial of global standards of excellence. Hence, the humiliation of Eden Gardens.

The propensity to rest on faded laurels and to be driven by a false sense of pride and priorities has made Bengal fall behind in every important aspect of public life. There was a time when Eden Gardens was considered one of the most attractive of cricketing venues. Today it is declared unfit, in terms of infrastructure and arrangements, to host a World Cup match. This fall from grace is an allegory for the state of West Bengal. It is safe to predict that some wise man will discover a conspiracy behind the decision of the ICC. That would be typical, as would be the righteous indignation that will ensue. Whatever be the rhetoric, Mr Dalmiya and his team have failed and they have no one but themselves to blame for the humilation. They should be banished from Eden.

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