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BCCI president Shashank Manohar is escorted out of the Indian cricket board's headquarters at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. — AFP/File
BCCI president Shashank Manohar is escorted out of the Indian cricket board's headquarters at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. — AFP/File

NEW DELHI: Storm clouds were gathering Thursday over cricket's World T20, with organisers still to release tickets or confirm the venues, less than a month before the tournament begins in India.

Hundreds of thousands of supporters are expected to attend the 16-team contest which begins on March 8, the first time India has hosted the world cup for the game's newest and most popular format.

But with question marks over the presence of the West Indies and New Delhi yet to receive clearance to host matches, fans who need to secure flights, hotels and even visas are still unable to firm up travel plans.

The official line from the Indian board is that any glitches will be ironed out and there is no cause for alarm.

“Everything will be sorted out very soon,” Anurag Thakur, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said.

But Paul Ford, co-founder of New Zealand's Beige Brigade fan club, said it was now simply too late for some fans.

“We would have loved to travel to India as New Zealand have a good team this time round,” Ford said.

“But the delay in ticket sales and the venue being undecided has really made it hard for the fans to plan their travel.”

Tickets for other major sporting events in 2016 such as the Rio Olympics in August and football's European Championships which take place in France in June went on sale months ago.

Thakur told reporters last Friday that tickets would be released at the start of this week, a month before the first matches involving the tournament's minnows.

But that deadline came and went and organisers have set next Monday as their new target, a month before India play New Zealand in the first heavyweight clash.

The delay can be explained in part by the uncertainty over whether New Delhi's Firoz Shah Kotla stadium will receive all the permits needed to stage its four matches — including the first semi-final.

While the Delhi High Court indicated on Monday it was likely to give its green light, it also left open the possibility that it would not make a final decision for nearly another three weeks.

“Twenty days is the maximum time given, we will get things in order in 10 days,” Chetan Chauhan, vice-president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association, said.

“We have already told the BCCI to start the ticket sales. We have told them that we are absolutely fit to host the matches with all the approvals in place.”

Mystery ‘Plan B’

Nevertheless, the BCCI says it has drawn up a Plan B without revealing which venues might step in.

But the problems have evoked unfortunate memories of the ODI World Cup in 2011 when Kolkata lost its right to host matches after furious fans had already paid for their flights from England.

Veteran sports writer Ayaz Memon said the uncertainty over whether India's capital was fit to stage matches was “agonising”.

“If Delhi loses its World Cup games then it is a big blow to the BCCI and a setback to the cricket administration in India ... and that is not acceptable,” Memon said.

Another crisis is brewing in the Caribbean where a pay dispute shows little sign of being resolved before a February 14 deadline for players to sign contracts drawn up by the West Indies board.

While it appears unlikely the West Indies will boycott the event, its credibility would take a major hit if stars such as Chris Gayle stay at home and are replaced by second-stringers.

The 2009 winners Pakistan have also voiced concerns about security in India while stopping short of threatening a boycott.

The South Asian arch rivals have not played a bilateral series for more than three years amid diplomatic tensions but they are due to play each other on March 19 in the Himalayan town of Dharamsala.

Thakur said it was ultimately up to Pakistan whether they decided to come to India.

Memon acknowledged the delay to ticket sales was unhelpful but added that it would be unfair to lay all the blame at the door of the Indian board as it was an International Cricket Council (ICC) event.

No one from the ICC was available for comment when contacted.

“As far as the tournament is concerned, I hope that West Indies don't send a third-string team,” said Memon.

“And I also hope that Pakistan don't skip the event because that will take away the sheen from a world tournament. “

Comments (59) Closed

Zombie Feb 11, 2016 05:46pm

Don't worry it's the BCCI, bigger than the ICC.

Guest Feb 11, 2016 05:55pm

Clutching at straws, are we?

truth Feb 11, 2016 05:59pm

for now the ball is in Pakistan's court weather they decide to come or not but choosing an other venue for them is never an option

Naxalite Feb 11, 2016 06:04pm

WT20 should be held somewhere else for good.

The Right Left Feb 11, 2016 06:18pm

I so hope that PCB will show some self respect and already announce that Pakistan team will NOT go to India. Not just for security reasons but due to the crap BCCI has been throwing at us for so loong. They have boycotted our cricketers from their leagues, refused to play with us after saying they will. Treated PCB like an backstreet nobody. There is no reason on earth, moon or the entire galaxy..that we should go to play in India.

Faisal Feb 11, 2016 06:29pm

I hope WT20 to be shifted to UAE as a neutral venue, no panic and no security concerns for either side.

AXH Feb 11, 2016 06:31pm

Pakistan must not go to India to play its games. If games are arranged in a third venue then that would be okay, but not in India. Having said that, decisions like this require a spine which PCB and the current government seriously lacks.

GoNoGo Feb 11, 2016 06:37pm

If PCB have any dignity neutral venue is only option !

Desi Dimag Feb 11, 2016 06:54pm

Pakistan will play WT20 in India, I bet.

Ghazanfar Ali Feb 11, 2016 06:57pm

@The Right Left exactly

Blore Guy Feb 11, 2016 06:58pm

@The Right Left I hope your board and govt value your suggestion .Best of Luck from india

Shahid Feb 11, 2016 07:02pm

Pakistan should completely boycott playing against india and in india until it honor its commitment made to PCB for a bilateral series. And for that matter even if we have to skip this T20 world cup, so be it.

Ghazanfar Ali Feb 11, 2016 07:02pm

I hope Sethi remember the treatment he received by RSS in Mumbai.

We have our own league and we have rest of world minus India to cherish cricket.

We must boycott each and every every event arranged in India untill this country changes its behavior.

rustom e hind Feb 11, 2016 07:03pm

pakistn will play, they have no option

its not an bcci event, its icc event

no neutral venue will be allowed, bec who will secure it, icc ? bec india will refuse

Dr Yashfaa Rao Feb 11, 2016 07:06pm

We Must Not Play With India At Any Level. There is no need To go India . Now it is time to Pay Them Back In the Same Coin

rk Feb 11, 2016 07:16pm

i dont think pakistan will boycott the event as it will be financial loss to PCB and also there would be a punishment as per icc laws

kashmiri Feb 11, 2016 07:18pm

icc getting money from bcci so there is no problem in organisational flaws...!!!

kashmiri Feb 11, 2016 07:19pm

@Faisal is it...!!! its not taking place in pak

Soumik Feb 11, 2016 07:21pm

Cricket is a game of Money today, BCCI has almost 80% of the total global funds invested in Cricket. Like it or not the T20 will happen in India

Alien Feb 11, 2016 07:25pm

Pakistan should not paly for security reason .......... PCB show some respect for Once............

Turan Feb 11, 2016 07:37pm

Concern for Pakistan is not the security but the streak of defeats in worldcup by India.

Turan Feb 11, 2016 07:41pm

It's BCCI, it lends money to ICC for arranging events. It's not a big deal for BCCI to organise an world cup even if one week left. Stadiums will be packed even if ticket sales released one day prior to match

DeLhIiTe! Feb 11, 2016 07:46pm

The tickets sale will start this Saturday.. The happiest news today for me was that ferozshah kotla was cleared to host the matches! Can't wait to buy the tickets for Delhi matches...

Brar Feb 11, 2016 07:46pm

If even a one team shows inability in playing in India the venue may be shifted to any othercountry otherwise the show must go on with or without Pakistan .

Abdullah Balouch Feb 11, 2016 07:53pm

What's one T20 cup for us Pakistanis? We've been World Champs in all formats of cricket! We simply don't want to send our team to a country where they poison our blind cricketers, attack our senior board officials, dig their pitches to escape paying us and refuse to honor their commitments - even refuse playing in the UAE. Do not want to play there. Not till they learn some sportsmanship.

Abdullah Feb 11, 2016 08:15pm

We should not go to play in India....they even didnt play with us in Dubai then why should we play with them no matter how much monetary loss we face......Honor and dignity should be foremost instead of money......PSL is a very good enjoyment for us.....thanks PCB

Vivek Feb 11, 2016 08:19pm

The event will go on, tickets will be sold, stadiums will go housefull

lafanga Feb 11, 2016 08:23pm

Why would you ever want to go and play in a country whose citizens openly threaten you and hate you? Why would you want to go thru the agony of the entire stadium being hostile to you?

All good reasons to stay home BUT PCB is too weak a board to take this stand. Even the PM is weak so expect them to go and get humiliated again like what SS did in Mumbai to Shaharyar Khan.

Pak Singh Feb 11, 2016 08:29pm

@Abdullah Balouch Oh brilliantly said mate! Agreed 100%.

Merchant Feb 11, 2016 08:32pm

@Zombie sure BCCI bigger than ICC when it comes to black money and black marketing. What a shame to the great game of cricket!!

Merchant Feb 11, 2016 08:33pm

@The Right Left bravo, well said!!

Nooru52 Feb 11, 2016 08:34pm

Pakistan can not play in Mumbai Srilanka can not play in Chennai and Bangladesh can not play in Kolkata why they are hosting such events.

unknown Feb 11, 2016 08:35pm

meanwhile 100s of Pakistani athlete are participating in SAG

Nooru52 Feb 11, 2016 08:36pm

@rk There is no such punishment and revenue ICC will loose the revenue.

Alla Bux Feb 11, 2016 08:40pm

It will go through. That is what always happens in India with sporting events. Few years ago they had all kinds of trouble while hosting commonwealth games. Lot of negative comments about security, unpreparedness etc, but in the end they went off with a bang.

About security, it looks like we have sent more than a hundred sportsmen to India and they seem to be enjoying in the Indian state of Assam taking part in South Asian games. If they are secure there, I do not see any problem for the security of our 14 or so players in the cricket team.

Salim Khan Feb 11, 2016 08:55pm

Principally Pakistan should not participate in T20 world cup. We as a nation must stay behind it. India should recognize how Pakistan cricket is critical for the world cricket.

Omar Feb 11, 2016 08:56pm

@The Right Left very well said and I am woth you just like majority of Pakistani are my friend

sandeep Feb 11, 2016 08:57pm

hello friends..i would like to submit here that come what may be any security concerns will be efficiently handled by bcci and also teams for eg west indies or Pakistan will take part in tournament...mark my words

Omar Feb 11, 2016 08:58pm

@rk no punishment my friend as if the govt. dont allow you to travel then its fine. Easy ref. Is Aus bycotting u19 WC in BDesh

Saad Feb 11, 2016 09:02pm

I don't think India will be welcoming visitors from Pakistan.

zaheer Feb 11, 2016 09:38pm

So much a pakistani is wishing it will flop. I am happy they are thinking that way, also pls tell PCB to pull out of the cup, that will be best gift you can give indians this year,

Conspiracy Theory Feb 11, 2016 10:08pm

For all those souls waiting for the tournament in India to fail.. some said IPL will fail without pakistani players.. and said when IPL moved to Abu Dhabi, stadium would be empty without Pakistani players.. and you have seen the results already. Whether you guys play or not, the world cup will be a huge success. More stomachs to burn in the coming days.

Harmony-1© Feb 11, 2016 10:22pm

As it says, tickets are sold months before a major sporting event starts but this is subcontinental way of doing things to leave it all till the last minute. No wonder Paul Ford, co-founder of New Zealand's Beige Brigade fan club, said it was now simply too late for some fans from his country to travel.

Adz Feb 11, 2016 10:28pm

Pakistan should not play in India. There are security issues. Also it should boycott India completely as they are not interested to play with us. Then why should we play with them.

Omar Sadiq Feb 11, 2016 10:53pm

People talking about PCB getting penalized by ICC....where was this ICC when Aus boycotted the U19 WC due to security concerns?? Wasn't this U19 WC also an ICC event?? PCB & PAK govt....please DO NOT send the cricket team to participate in India but when there are ICC events in other countries, please be the first one to not only announce participation but also to announce the team. Show some spine and stand up for yourself in reaction to the humiliation meted to you by the BCCI and this BJP govt.

Yasir Saeed Feb 11, 2016 11:24pm

A time will come when western teams will stop touring any Asian countries because of the continuous rise of extremism and intolerance that has engulfed the entire region.

Ash Feb 12, 2016 12:58am

Very surprising comment by BCCI that "it's up to Pakistan if they decide to come to India"....... the fact is it's up to India to provide fool proof security to Pakistan..... and what has been observed so far that security has been far from adequate considering what happened to others from show biz..... this is certainly not the right time to make any visit to India by anyone from Pakistan, hence PCB must stay away from this T20 circus!!

Ash Feb 12, 2016 01:01am

@GoNoGo: it's not the matter of dignity.... It's matter of principle.... India has cancelled all previous tours to Pakistan or any neutral venue, snubbed Pakistan at every possible opportunity, so why does Pakistan need to participate in a tournament in a very hostile and unfriendly country???

Rana Nasir Feb 12, 2016 01:28am

Whole world knows about it and also all those patriotic Indians who revoked their citizenship to get settled in western countries. Now a days all boards are interested in making money to play against india because of mandi of 1.2 billion . We all know where India stand and their cricket. Boards like Australia and UK start to make pitches where Indian won't embarrass 1.2 billion, so they keep watching and praising their team. All I can say , it is not good for cricket.

Rana Nasir Feb 12, 2016 02:29am

I totally believe that Pakistan shouldn't participate in t20, but PCB needs money and they don't have much options since the trio came to existence. Sadly to say Pakistan will participate. PCB has to play on the back foot. Angry

Riaz Feb 12, 2016 03:15am

@rustom e hind

Not true my friend. Under-19 World Cup is also an ICC event. Do you see Australia playing?

Ady Feb 12, 2016 04:32am

@Desi Dimag I agree PCB is not BCCI

Vorshal Feb 12, 2016 05:40am

@Abdullah - I agree with you. Pakistan should not go to India, and India won't mind!

joe Feb 12, 2016 06:08am

@Omar Sadiq Please don't send team. Please.. And ask players also to echo this to PCB

Fried Chillies Feb 12, 2016 06:45am

@Desi Dimag Dude the Pakistanis are right when they expect their board to show spine. This is no way to treat another entity, especially when it involves a national institution.

Sorry dude but on this point I agree with the Pakistanis. We have wronged them. It's one thing to cut ties but to go back and forth is completely moronic if not downright totally unacceptable thing to do

Guddu Feb 12, 2016 07:49am

PCB asking for trouble

Abdul Wahab Vazeer Feb 12, 2016 09:50am

@Abdullah Balouch Bravo ! Well said

ali Feb 12, 2016 02:15pm

Pak should not play in WC T20.

Bilal Hussain Feb 12, 2016 03:07pm

Look at his & bcci double standards. They expect Pakistan not to miss the tournament and when their turn comes to play series with Pakistan (even in uae), they just back off.