If the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) does not get its act together, the Ferozshah Kotla faces the prospect of a barren phase without any international cricket, including this year’s IPL, being played at the ground.
On Saturday, the DDCA, in a last ditch effort, shot off a request to the Indian cricket board requesting time till February 10 to get all necessary clearances from the various government departments for the World T20 games. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has set a Sunday deadline for the DDCA to get the clearances, including the occupancy certificate from the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), which has raised a number of shortcomings in the ‘existing structure’ of the Kotla.
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If World T20 matches are taken away from the DDCA, it could even jeopardize its chances of hosting the IPL games.
The Delhi Daredevils, the IPL team based at the Kotla, has raised concern about the readiness of the DDCA to hosts its home games.
Representatives of the franchise expressed their apprehension during the IPL governing council meeting in Mumbai on Friday after the T20 game between India and Sri Lanka, scheduled to be held at the Ferozshah Kotla on February 12, was shifted to Ranchi.
“Delhi is the home of Delhi Daredevils and as such remains our first choice. However, considering the ongoing flux at the DDCA we have requested the BCCI to intervene and help us get clarity for us to plan ahead of the upcoming season. We believe the DDCA will be able to resolve all pending issues pertaining to Kotla soon. We will only seek alternative venues as a last resource. We are hopeful IPL GC & DDCA will be able to find a favorable solution so that Delhi Daredevils’ fans get to see their team in action in the upcoming season at their home venue,” a Delhi Daredevils spokesperson said.
Eye on World T20
DDCA officials will be keen to firstsecure the World T20 games scheduled to be played in the capital. “The IPL starts only in April. By that time we would have got all the clearances. Right now we want to ensure that we host the World T20 games,” DDCA working president Chetan Chauhan said.
Chauhan confirmed the association has asked the Indian cricket board to extend the deadline for getting various permissions. “We have written to the BCCI asking them to extend the deadline to February 10 so we can get permission from all departments concerned,” Chauhan said on Saturday.
“With regard to the occupancy certificate, we are confident of completing 90 per cent of the work, which the SDMC wants us to undertake, by February 10. We have requested the BCCI to give us more time and we are keeping our fingers crossed,” Chauhan added.
However, even if the BCCI extends the deadline, the DDCA will be in a race against time to finish all work.
A January 22 letter written by SDMC’s Assistant Engineer (B), Central Zone, to Chauhan lists 60 pointers which indicate that only a virtual overhaul of the Kotla could help DDCA get the crucial nod.
The letter has highlighted changes made at the stadium which are not as per sanctioned plan.
Staircases from second tier to third tier missing in A-Wing, toilet blocks converted into food courts, number of rows of seats increased to 6 against 5 in most wings, width of exit at number of places less than sanctioned — 2.55m instead of 3.0m — are some of the violations.