IN THE WORLD of cricket T20 is either viewed as the glorious future, a hit and giggle, or an abomination to the cricketing gods that will lead to the destruction of the game as we know it. I personally fall into the ‘hit and giggle’ category, which is why I am quite looking forward to the sixth World T20, which actually started on the 8th March (not that you would know it) in India. The main event starts on the 15th March, once six out of eight of the smaller teams have been knocked out. I assume the event will get some more publicity at this point, particularly as India themselves are playing.
I am not concerned about the cricket on the field, I am quite sure that it will be highly entertaining and well worth watching (to the great detriment of my dissertation). No, what concerns me is how the BCCI (the Board for Control of Cricket in India) have been organising the tournament; particularly the fiasco surrounding venues and tickets. At least the fixture list has been sorted now – for a while there was no confirmation of venues. Coupled with ticket sales not opening till just two weeks before the first game, many fans were left in the lurch. The problems of having just two weeks’ notice to book time of work, buy tickets to fly out, and organise accommodation are all self-evident.
On the 10th March fans were turned away from Scotland v Zimbabwe at the VCA stadium in Nagpur, as the ground had no ticketing facilities – these facilities still being located at the old ground, approximately 40 minutes’ travel time away. These matches between the smaller teams in the tournament are already sparsely attended, and the lack of common sense is quite maddening.
No cricket tournament would be complete without some India-Pakistan complications, and for this tournament this took the form of Pakistani security concerns over the proposed venue for the India-Pakistan fixture on the 19th March. The venue was moved to Kolkata on the 9th March, just ten days before the match is due to take place. The Pakistani team still hasn’t travelled to India, pending assurances from the BCCI and ICC regarding security. While Pakistan may well have genuine security concerns, it is sad to see politics impacting upon cricket.
The next two major tournaments in the cricketing world are the 2017 Champions Trophy and the 2019 ODI World Cup. Both of these tournaments will be hosted in the United Kingdom. For the sake of cricket fans everywhere, I hope the England and Wales Cricket Board do a somewhat better job than the BCCI.