BCCI seeks eight venues for World T20, ICC wants five

  • Sai Prasad Mohapatra, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jun 15, 2015 20:28 IST

Such a scenario would have been unthinkable some time ago - a BCCI demand not being met by the International Cricket Council (ICC). And as recently as last year after N Srinivasan took charge of the ICC, one would never have imagined that BCCI and ICC can be on different pages. But the ICC meeting held in Mumbai on Sunday to discuss next year's World T20 gave an insight into the communication gap that has developed between the Indian board and the world cricket governing body.

After its initial exploratory meeting in New Delhi last month, the second meeting was to obtain clarity over the venues for event India will be hosting in March 2016. But there was no consensus and the Indian board and ICC couldn't find common ground on the number of venues.

The matter hit a deadlock the moment BCCI demanded that eight venues be approved. But the ICC, citing on both budget and logistical issues, was insistent on hosting only in five venues. BCCI's demand for more venues is quite natural for a couple of reasons. It will allow far more cricket fans in the country to watch the matches, enabling the maximum possible spectator reach. Secondly, the current BCCI regime will have to oblige a number of loyalists, and hence five venues could be too few for them.

According to sources, the ICC is constrained by its tournament budget. It has to operate within budget so that the major chuck of the profit from the tournament can be distributed amongst the participating nations. BCCI insisting on more venues might shrink the profit, which is not to the liking of the other boards.

Though the BCCI is yet to reveal the eight venues it wishes the matches to be played on, it is believed to be largely Test centres which had hosted the 2011 World Cup matches.

Roles reversed

However, sources familiar with such discussions told HT how it was again BCCI which was hell-bent on reducing organising costs of the 2015 World Cup to ensure that the profit margin remains higher and the participating teams get more money. This despite opposition from Australia as it wanted to spend more in making it a grand tournament. Now, BCCI is on the other side of the fence, sources added.

It is unlikely that the venues will be finalised before the ICC annual conference in Barbados in the last week of June. It is expected that the next meeting between the ICC and BCCI will see a reworked budget and a more accommodating attitude before the prospective venues are firmed up.

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