Delhi gets breathing room to host World T20 games
The decks have been cleared for Delhi to host matches during the World T20 after the city's municipal authority agreed to grant an occupancy certificate to the DDCA subject to the fulfillment of certain norms within 20 days. The DDCA subsequently withdrew its plea to the Delhi High Court seeking an occupancy certificate for the Feroz Shah Kotla from the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Monday.
"We have withdrawn the plea for provisional certificate from the High Court since the SDMC has passed a resolution saying they would give us permanent clearance after we satisfy certain conditions," DDCA treasurer Ravinder Manchanda told ESPNcricinfo. "We have deposited the security amount of Rs 50 lakh. A conditional NOC will be issued by them tomorrow which will then give us a further time of 10 to 12 days - about a week out of the [stipulated] 20 days has already elapsed - to complete the rest of the work [on the stadium's maintenance and refurbishment]. There is only minor work pending. We should be able to complete it soon. We have mailed the BCCI to communicate this."
A senior BCCI official said there would be no more hurdles for Delhi to host matches in the World T20 should they produce the requisite clearances. "They have got the NOC now. If they have got the NOC then what stops them [from hosting the World T20]?" the official told ESPNcricinfo. "It's after all our national capital. They will have to produce the NOC and also give it in writing that they will be able to host the matches. In 20 days they will anyway finish the arrangements. We will communicate this [development] to the ICC by tomorrow."
According to PTI, the Delhi High Court bench had made it clear that if the pending work wasn't completed no matches would be allowed. "After 20 days, you (DDCA) should not come and say they (SDMC) are illegally withholding the occupancy certificate or say you need any modification in the earlier order. It should not happen," the bench said. It also said no match could he held under "unsafe circumstances." The DDCA counsel assured the bench that the work would be completed within 20 days.
It is understood that the ICC has been concerned about the lack of clarity on Delhi's ability to host the World T20 games - the Feroz Shah Kotla has been allotted four men's and six women's matches, including two semi-finals. The sale of tickets, too, hasn't commenced despite BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur's announcement that it would be launched on February 9. The BCCI official, however, said they would be put for sale from "February 13 or 14".
The BCCI had earlier given DDCA a deadline of January 31 before it was extended to February 8. Thakur was quoted by The Hindustan Times on Monday as saying "we would wait" when asked if the BCCI would stick to the deadline given to the DDCA.
The DDCA has been plagued by several administrative problems, and had recently conveyed its inability to host the second T20 between India and Sri Lanka despite deadlines being extended. There was similar uncertainty surrounding the fourth Test between India and South Africa in December, before the Delhi High Court stepped in to provide interim relief by asking the SDMC to provide provisional clearance to the DDCA.
Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo