CHENNAI: The fourth and final Test of the Gandhi-Mandela series between India and South Africa is set to be moved from Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla and as indicated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Pune will host its first ever Test starting December 3.
An official announcement is expected on Tuesday, after the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) failed to acquire required approvals from the state government. In another setback, DDCA may not also host matches of the World T20 in March.
The entire episode started with the Delhi government asking DDCA to pay `24 crore as entertainment tax for hosting matches since 2012. The DDCA, already under investigations related to financial irregularities, had in turn requested the Arvind Kejriwal-led government to waive the tax and asked for an extension in deadline.
But the chief minister set up a three-member panel to look into the allegations. DDCA officials led by working president Chetan Chauhan and vice-president CK Khanna tried their best to meet Kejriwal but in vain. It has been learnt the DDCA officials met the entertainment tax commissioner Sanjay Kumar, who apparently did not oblige their request. With Tuesday being a public holiday in Delhi because of Chhath Puja, it is more or less over for DDCA.
The BCCI had given DDCA time till Tuesday and will go ahead with its decision to allot the match to the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s stadium in Pune. “The DDCA has not been able to get the necessary approval and with their bank accounts also sealed following a court order, they won’t be in a position to pay the amount. So Pune, which was on stand-by, will host the fourth Test,” highly-placed sources in BCCI told Express.
There could be more embarrassment in store for DDCA as the BCCI could leave out Delhi from the list of venues hosting World T20 matches. It is learnt that with the DDCA unable to host a Test match, it would be a too much of a risk on the part of BCCI to allot matches to Kotla. “If getting the ground ready for a Test match is difficult, it’s tough to think about them hosting WT20. There is very little time to finalise the venues. They have been listed and if they fail to get the clearance, it won’t be possible to change the venues in the eleventh hour,” the source said.
Meanwhile, a decision on Chennai’s MAC Stadium hosting WT20 matches amid stands problems is yet to be taken.