Delhi Mess, Chennai Tangle Hurt India’s Pride And Image

With less than four months to go for the start of the ICC World T20 2016, the BCCI is sending out the wrong message.

Updated
Sports
3 min read
The BCCI have taken some tough decisions after Shashank Manohar was elected as the president of the cricket board. (Photo: Reuters)

Delhi’s iconic cricket stadium Ferozshah Kotla may not be allowed to host the fourth and final test against the visiting South African - all because the DDCA which runs the stadium have not made a payment to the Delhi Excise, Entertainment and Luxury Tax Department.

This mess may not affect India in the short run, but it is hurting the country in the long run.

Eden Redux

With less than four months to go for the start of the ICC World Twenty20 2016, BCCI is sending out the wrong message to the rest of the world. It is almost a repeat of the fiasco around the Eden Gardens before the 2011 World Cup.

Then, the mess around the Eden Gardens was allowed to fester before the ICC was finally forced to shift the India v England match to Bengaluru. Now, six months after the Test was allotted to Delhi, we have allowed the cloud around the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) to blind our judgement.

People protest outside the Eden Gardens ahead of the 2011 World Cup. (Photo: Reuters)
People protest outside the Eden Gardens ahead of the 2011 World Cup. (Photo: Reuters)

Stop Making Everyone Happy

Why would we wait until two weeks before a Test match to decide on a change of venue? The BCCI has always been a little lenient towards its State Associations when it comes to allocation of matches. Even when a decision has to be made in deciding the fate of a venue like the Kotla, we wait till the last minute (a typical Indian trait).

Now to add to this mess, we have the spectre of the Board recognizing six more Test venues in India. The BCCI says it shows the depth of facilities available in the country. But what it really showcases is the fact that so many more have to be ‘kept happy’ to let the ship sail. This tendency to keep everyone happy has made Indian cricket some kind of a mock figure in the world.

Only The Best Must Pass The Test

If only 15 of the best can play or be part of a squad for India, why then are we so keen to distribute matches? Why can’t the seven best venues host matches in any series and let the others compete for a right to be among the chosen few? The logic of having a vast country and hence a large number of venues does not work, because you end up with sub-standard venues.

The BCCI have tried to take international matches to smaller destinations like Dharamsala. (Photo: Reuters)
The BCCI have tried to take international matches to smaller destinations like Dharamsala. (Photo: Reuters)

The BCCI needs to have stricter norms and fewer venues to tighten the procedures, much like in Australia. The Aussies too have many venues but they play at six of the best and nothing more. The only time India had fewer venues (eight) than what they would have liked was during the 2011 World Cup!

World T20 in a Tangle

Now, with the mess around the Kotla and a stand tied-up in Chennai due to litigation, the World Twenty20 schedule announcement has got further delayed. The schedules and various versions of it may be ready internally, but cricket still has a few stakeholders such as travelling fans who will want to know more. Till now, the World T20 has only been played at a maximum of four venues, but then again the urge to keep everyone on the right side has resulted in eight cities being chosen. Now of the eight, only six may end up hosting matches, which is still two too many.

No other country in the cricketing world gets away with so many last-minute decisions like India. There may be a snapping point very soon and when that happens it will hurt India very badly.

BCCI Top Brass Must Step in

The new BCCI president Shashank Manohar and secretary Anurag Thakur have taken a few noteworthy steps to tone up cricket administration. Now they need to read the riot act even in the case of venues for internationals.

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