Work in progress at the Eden on Sunday. Picture by Sanat Kumar Sinha
London, Jan. 30: Gullivers Sports Travel, which was taking a party of English crickets fans to Calcutta for the big India vs England match at the Eden Gardens, is now making last-minute adjustments as the International Cricket Council (ICC) has ruled out the match at the venue.
Lucy Flew, spokesperson for the firm that describes itself as the UKs leading and longest established rugby and cricket tour operator, told The Telegraph that fans had been looking forward to seeing the England-India encounter at the Eden. Its very disappointing, she said.
The firm has issued an update for clients booked onto Gullivers India vs England packages.
In light of the announcement that Eden Gardens will not be ready for the ICC Cricket World Cup, we would like to reassure you that we are liaising with the ICC and as soon as an alternative venue has been confirmed… we will contact everyone booked onto an India v England package to offer alternative options, the statement said.
Calcutta fans will not be able to see a resurgent England under Andrew Strauss, the batting of Alastair Cook, Graeme Swanns spin bowling or the antics of Kevin Pietersen.
To beat this England side on February 27 at Eden would have made it a match to remember.
The venue change will rob the people of Calcutta of being able to witness at first hand a much feared English institution that outdid even Aussie sledging — the Barmy Army. Its members hand out song sheets, begin with Jerusalem before making up new numbers with rhyming slang.
The word monkey would have found itself into a chant about Bhajji.
English fans were booked to stay for five nights at Park Hotel in Calcutta, with sightseeing thrown in: Join Gullivers with Edward Craig, deputy editor of The Wisden Cricketer, for the biggest game of all, India v England. From £1,635pp — including 5* hotel and a forum with some of the biggest names in cricket writing.
Founded in 1972 as a travel agent in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, the firm says it has organised supporters tours to major football, rugby league and tennis events as well as rugby union and cricket.
All was set for Calcutta because Gullivers offered official, guaranteed cricket match tickets; small friendly touring groups (travel with like-minded people); the best-quality hotels, airlines and ground agents; cricket tour hosts who offer expertise and analysis; cricket related social events, including cricket forums with international stars; and 29 years experience in organising cricket tours.
India was described as a kaleidoscope of landscapes, cultures and colourful people.
India, a most fascinating country with age-old vibrant culture, exotic beaches, exciting adventure destinations and luxurious hospitality, is possibly the most diverse nation in the world, Gullivers continued.
Different religions live together with a dizzying variety of languages, cultures, ethnic groups, beliefs and lifestyles. But one thing everyone has in common is, of course, the national obsession for cricket!
As for Calcutta, it was billed as one of the worlds great cities. Kolkata or Calcutta as it used to be known, has been through many incarnations. From an obscure village on the banks of the Hooghly, it evolved into the capital of Great Britains Indian empire. Today, this is a vibrant city with a distinct imperial flavour and the cultural capital of India.
There are still attractive packages on offer from Gullivers: Watch the semi-finals in Colombo and Mohali and the final in Mumbai for £1,999pp.