On Sunday, less than a week before the Champions Trophy, cricket's mini-World Cup, kicks off across India, there was confusion in the Capital where teams are gathering ahead of the event.
Late on Saturday, the Delhi & Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) had announced a 15-member Delhi squad for a 'friendly' against Zimbabwe on Monday. Less than 12 hours later, the match was cancelled. And no one was quite sure why.
On Sunday morning, DDCA officials said, "The International Cricket Council (ICC) denied permission." While Zimbabwe manager Givemore Makoni said he did not know the match was off and if so, why. He said he expected the ICC to tell him by noon.
According to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the game was a last-minute request by Zimbabwe.
BCCI officials said the ICC's anti-ambush marketing requirements made it almost impossible to arrange an unscheduled game.
A senior board official said, "The ICC requires that there be no branding at stadiums (like hoardings) because they might be of companies that rival the ICC's sponsors.
"The ICC requires a full complement of policemen, insist that only Pepsi products (Pepsi is an ICC sponsor) be served, even for practice games. It is stretching things a little far for an untelevised practice match."
BCCI CAO and tournament director Ratnakar Shetty told HT, "The ICC is running around on its own trying to organise practice games at the last minute. Ferozeshah Kotla has very good facilities but the ICC's stringent requirements mean matters cannot be organised overnight. If something goes wrong, everyone will blame the BCCI."
Brian Murgatroyd, ICC's manager (media and communications), said, "The BCCI told us it was impractical. Monday is a public holiday and there are requirements like umpires, scoreboard operators, dressing-room attendants, security and caterers." He did not talk about in-stadia advertising.
Murgatroyd said the teams were at fault for wanting last-minute games.
"We are keen to give sides full practice but no team requested a practice game here," he said. "Still, we are doing our best to arrange matters."
South Africa have also requested a game on October 7. It may eventually be held at the air-force ground in Palam.
Meanwhile, it is expected that over the next month, the ICC’s requirements are bound to give everyone concerned a major headache.