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Eden Gardens to host 2016 World T20 final

Eden Gardens

New Delhi:  Kolkata’s Eden Gardens will host the final of the ICC World T20, to be held in India from March 11 to April 3, next year, across eight cities, the BCCI announced today.

Matches will take place across Bengaluru, Chennai, Dharamsala, Mohali, Mumbai, Nagpur, New Delhi and Kolkata, which gets to host the summit clash at the iconic Eden Gardens.

The popular ground had missed out on hosting big ticket games during 50-over World Cup held in India four years ago.

The India versus England game was shifted to Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru after ICC found that Eden Gardens’ renovation work was not complete.

However, Eden Gardens have organised marquee matches in the past, notably the 1987 Reliance Cup final and 1996 World Cup semi-final, which India forfeited the match to eventual champions Sri Lanka due to a crowd disruption.

BCCI said the chosen venues will have to meet the prescribed requirements.

“These venues will host the matches subject to fulfilling the prescribed requirements of the ICC and BCCI while adhering to the statutory obligations that are mandatory for hosting an International match,” said the BCCI in a statement.

The showpiece event of the shortest format will take place for the first time in the cricket-crazy nation. India had won the inaugural World T20 in 2007.

Talking more about the much-awaited tournament, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said: “BCCI is extremely proud to host this prestigious event. All the venues identified have hosted many prestigious matches. With this announcement, we have begun our preparations in right earnest. We want this World Twenty20 to be a memorable experience for our participants and fans. I am confident that all the venues nominated will deliver a world class event.”

The Board has also constituted a managing committee for the biennial event, of which president Jagmohan Dalmiya will the be chairman and Thakur the convenor.

The other members of the committee are joint secretary Amitabh Choudhary, treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, vice-president G Ganga Raju, IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, Chairman, IPL, Ashish Shelar, vice-president of Mumbai Cricket Association and Ashirbad Behera, secretary at Orissa Cricket Association.

Apart from Pujara, the unofficial Test series would be an ideal platform for the likes of K L Rahul, Abhinav Mukund and spinners Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha to prove their worth, while new ball bowlers Varun Aaroon and Umesh Yadav would be hoping to cement their places in the senior side after having struggled in the recent tours.

To India’s advantage, the home team players have played more number of competitive matches in the domestic scene compared to the Aussies.

Going by the team strengths, India has a balanced side. While the top-order looks solid, India’s pace attack has variety in the form of Aaroon, Yadav and Abhimanyu Mithun. The spin department will be spearheaded by leg-spinner Amit Mishra in the company of left-arm spinner Ojha.

On the batting front, Rahul, in particular would be itching to make runs against a formidable Australian bowling attack, especially after having missed the Bangladesh tour due to illness.

Besides there players like Mukund, Vijay Shankar and Baba Aparajith who have shown their potential with the bat in domestic matches and would like to translate that at the international stage.

Shankar, in fact, is the only all-rounder in the team and would be keenly observed by the selectors after he made a mark for himself in the domestic season.

Local lad Shankar, a new ball bowler, is familiar with the conditions at Chepauk and is also capable of bowling long spells.

But Pujara and Co would be wary of their opponents led by Usman Khaja.

Khawaja had recently underwent a left knee reconstruction surgery and would like to make good use of this opportunity to get back to the Australian side.

Khawaja last played a Test for Australia during the 2013 Ashes tour. He had been in fine form for Queensland scoring 523 runs at a strike rate of 74.71, including a top score of 166 last year before the injury.

Besides Khwaja, Joe Burns, wicket-keeper batsman Matthew Wade, Nic Maddinson and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis are also capable of putting the Indian attack in disarray.

The Austrlaian side also has a formidable pace attack, which they always rely on.

The series will also be a great opportunity for Australian spin duo of Ashton Agar and Stephen O’Keefe to test their skills on friendly subcontinent tracks.

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