CHENNAI: The fate of Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium hosting matches of next year’s World T20 will be decided by the International Cricket Council. The Board of Control for Cricket in India has not ruled out the venue and will wait for response from the world body before taking a call.
One of the roadblocks for Chennai hosting matches has been the fact that three stands – I,J and K – are shut following a Supreme Court order and Tamil Nadu Cricket Association has to demolish parts of them to get clearance from the Chennai Corporation. Despite asking for permission from the state heritage department, TNCA is yet to receive a response. Hence, it has not been able to demolish parts of the stands.
Though BCCI had no problems in Chennai hosting an ODI against South Africa in October, ICC might sight the stands issue as a problem, as the parts in question can accommodate 12,000. Moreover, this being an ICC event, part of ticket sales goes to it as revenue. So the ICC might not approve a venue where thousands of seats can’t be used. The other significant factor is that because of political tensions, Sri Lanka won’t be able to play in Chennai. During IPL 2014, none of the franchises fielded Sri Lanka players in the XI when they played at MA Chidambaram Stadium.
“As of now, we’ve not ruled out Chennai. We want them to host and if they get the clearance, there won’t be any problem. The only issue is, which matches can be played in Chennai. There are certain limitations because Sri Lanka can’t play there, three stands are not complete. You can’t keep the fans away from these games. So many things have to be considered before allocating matches to these centres,” BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur told Express after a meeting of the WT20 organising committee.
In July, BCCI had shortlisted Mumbai, Nagpur, Delhi, Dharamshala, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and Mohali for the event and if India qualifies for the final, they will play a maximum of six matches. That way, a maximum of six venues can host India matches.
The organising committee is also wary of the fact that Pakistan playing in Maharashtra (Mumbai, Nagpur) may lead to problems. With the PCB threatening to boycott WT20 if the bilateral series between the two doesn’t go ahead as scheduled, Thakur said a call on this will be taken in a couple of days.
“We all know which teams can’t play in which centres. That is why this meeting was held. To discuss which are the right venues for which teams, how we can hold the event successfully. In 2011, we hosted a successful World Cup. The new challenge is what extra you can do. We are going to earmark areas for specially-abled people so that they don’t find it difficult,” Thakur said.