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Tsunami relief match postponed to April

By Our Special Correspondent

KOLKATA, JAN. 27. The second tsunami relief match between an Asia XI and an ICC World XI, to be held at the Eden Gardens here on February 13, has been postponed to second half of April owing to non-availability of some of the top players from Australia and New Zealand.

Announcing this at a media conference here on Thursday, the president of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), Jagmohan Dalmiya, clarified that Eden Gardens would remain the venue and only the date would be finalised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in consultation with all concerned. He said the match has been rescheduled following a communication from the ICC in this regard.

He said under the circumstances, two alternatives emerged. The first was to hold the game on February 13 without some of the best players and the second was to postpone the match until the second half of April.

"The first alternative was not acceptable since cricket lovers, donors, sponsors and everyone concerned would have been deprived of seeing the best players in action. Therefore, the ICC desired that the "Cricket for Humanity'' match be postponed when there will be less scheduled international cricket,'' he explained.

The ACC chief said the ICC appreciated the enormous work that has already been done to organise the match and the rescheduling of the game would cause a lot of inconvenience. He said the matter would be taken up for discussion during the ACC Executive Board meeting on January 31 at Dubai.

The ICC chief executive, Malcolm Speed, "on reviewing the proposed date of February 13, it became apparent that there were serious workload issues for many of the players who have indicated their desire to play in this match. At that time, England will still be in South Africa and Australia's series against New Zealand would about to begin.

"There is never an easy time to fit in an additional match but this fund-raising initiative is very important to us all. The match will still take place at the Eden Gardens with an exact date still to be confirmed. I look forward to another compelling match and more valuable fund-raising in the second half of April, Speed said in a statement.

The ACC president said that to organise a match of this stature, goodwill of all concerned was needed. "We are accepting it since the ICC has taken the responsibility of getting the services of all the best players for the April game,'' he added.

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