Complimentary passes restricted for Delhi Test

Fans cram in at the Chinnaswamy Stadium Getty Images

The Delhi High Court has restricted the number of complimentary passes handed out during the Delhi Test in the first week of December to 10,000, Mukul Mudgal, the retired High Court judge asked to oversee the Test, has said. The Test will go ahead at the Feroz Shah Kotla thanks only to the court's intervention, it having facilitated the necessary government and civil body clearances required by the defaulting Delhi & Districts Cricket Association (DDCA). Mudgal, who headed a probe into corruption in IPL, was asked to supervise the running of the match, taking key decisions out of the DDCA's hands.

Complimentary tickets are usually one of the means for state associations to appease their vote banks and influential people in their constituencies. There is no set number to limit how many are usually distributed, but indicators from past examples from various venues are striking. In 2013-14, when Sachin Tendulkar began his farewell series, only 6500 tickets went up for sale in Kolkata; Eden Garden holds 65,000 people. Recently, when Hardik Patel, a quota-stir leader in Gujarat, threatened to disrupt the Rajkot ODI, it came to light that only 11,000 tickets went up for sale in a 28,000-capacity stadium.

Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi holds more than 40,000. Limiting the complimentary passes to 10,000 suggests a significant clampdown. The free tickets could instead go to school kids, preferably those whose parents can't afford to buy them tickets, Mudgal said. "We have given a proposal subject to the approval of the High Court," he said. "Two stands at ground level, free tickets to school children, preferably of weaker section. This is subject to High Court permitting us to do so.

"We are also trying to see children are provided some edibles. We never know that a Kumble, Tendulkar, Dravid or a Bishan Bedi might emerge from them, because these are students who can never afford a Test-match ticket. So we want them to be given an opportunity on all five days."

To prevent corruption and over-marking of costs, Mudgal has appointed an unidentified deputy Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to look into every tender. "All the tenders that will be issued for the Test match will be verified independently by a former deputy CAG," Mudgal said after meeting the DDCA executive committee. "In order to make the process fair and transparent, all tender documents will be checked and scrutinised by deputy CAG."

When asked who the former deputy CAG was, Mudgal said: "We will not like to name him."