India news November 19, 2015

Chennai still a chance to host World T20

Three stands at the MA Chidambaram Stadium have remained locked for more than two years © K Sivaraman

The BCCI has confirmed it has not ruled out Chennai as a venue for the World T20 in India next year, despite the TNCA having missed the deadline to produce clearances for the three stands at the MA Chidambaram stadium that have remained locked for more than two years.

"We have not ruled out Chennai," the BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur told reporters at the end of the World T20's management and organising committee meeting.

"There are certain limitations also. You can't play Sri Lanka there. The three stands are not complete. We are still waiting for completion certificates. Those three stands do not have a completion certificate. [But] you can't keep the Indian fans away from the matches. Many things have to be considered before allocating the venues.

"So we have [not made public] the details of the matches and schedule which was supposed to be sent to the ICC. There is no new course of action [as far as giving a fresh deadline to the TNCA is concerned]. We'll send the details to the ICC. They will approve it, then the fixtures will be released."

Asked if Chennai would only be allotted non-India games given the reduced capacity due to the locked stands, Thakur said some venues would naturally miss out on hosting India games. "There are only four India games [in the initial round]. If you have more than four centres, you can't give every centre India games."

On the issue of Pakistan playing in Maharashtra in the face of opposition from a regional political party Shiv Sena, Thakur said such constraints would be worked around.

"We all know what are the limitations, which team can't play in which centres. So that is why this meeting was held, which are the right venues for which teams."

When asked if any standby venue had been discussed in the event of an existing centre's inability to host matches, Thakur said he did not think such a situation would arise.

The TNCA, on its part, said it had responded to an ICC questionnaire about the facilities at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, but could not predict when it would obtain the clearance for the three stands.

"Unless we get a clearance from the government how can we give a completion certificate?" TNCA secretary Kasi Viswanathan told ESPNcricinfo. "How can I give a commitment [to the BCCI] until then? We'll also have to be fair and tell them before the ICC inspection team comes."

Viswanathan said the ICC questionnaire did not include questions pertaining to the three stands. "It only has questions on the capacity of the stadium, what are the commitments for sponsors, things like that. That we have sent. We have not mentioned about the three empty stands."

Delhi was the other venue under the scanner following the recent controversies surrounding DDCA's administrative and financial health. However, sources present at the meeting said the Delhi situation was not discussed in much detail.

Arun Venugopal is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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