DDCA diaries: Missing kit bags, flying pigeons, stranded flag bearers

 

 

30-03-2016
INDIAN EXPRESS

Feroz Shah Kotla has been responsible for the delay in ticket sales and the uncertainty over the World T20 scheduling. As the jinxed venue gets ready to hosts its final 2016 World T20 game, Nihal Koshie lists the hiccups and goof-ups that floodlights couldn’t catch and the cameras failed to capture. (STATS || POINTS TABLE || FIXTURES)

It’s early March, the World T20 kick-off is round the corner, DDCA officials at Feroz Shah Kotla are sporting long faces. Justice Mukul Mudgal, appointed by the High Court to oversee the working at DDCA before the India-South Africa Test last year, continues to be the man in charge. Uncertainty over the WorldT20 games remain as the stadium hasn’t yet received all clearances. Mudgal isn’t a popular man at Kotla, for he wants to change things. It’s a tough job since the association is ridden with factions. As part of his clean-up drive, Mudgal asks the tender committee members to ensure that no outsider is present at meetings. Directors have also been told by Mudgal not to speak to vendors. Incidentally, one DDCA official, a joint secretary, who was part of the tender committee was attempting to discourage vendors in order to help one of his ‘contacts’ who was also in the fray. Another joint secretary was constantly barging into the room where the tender committee was meeting to ensure he had an ear to the ground. It is only when Mudgal warns that he would disband the committee and report the ‘interference’ to the court, order is restored.

 

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It’s the week of the opening game, the official ICC kits have reached the DDCA. However, on the eve of the opening match, the bag with official merchandise — meant for volunteers, ICC officials and DDCA officials — disappears. Inquiries reveal that a senior DDCA official, who is also a top BCCI functionary, had pocketed the kits. It was only after the ICC expressed its displeasure about the incident that the bags were distributed.

***

Hours before the opening game at the Kotla, DDCA officials are on tenterhooks. The DDCA has applied for the no-objection certificate from the Delhi Police in the second week of February, but the clearance is still awaited. Negotiations about the cost for deployment of force are still on as the expected time for the arrival of team nears. The NOC is received only as the two teams leave the hotel. The ICC’s sponsors have a tough time getting inside the stadium as they don’t have ‘vehicle passes’ issued by police.

***

DDCA’s directors are up in arms. Thanks to Mudgal, they have got just 10 passes. In the past, their quota was 60 to 70. Those who controlled maximum proxy votes, could pocket about 500. A few directors return the passes. They hope their protest would see Mudgal succumbing to their demand. Things don’t change, even before Kotla’s last game, the directors remain glum.

***

At the end of the NZ-Sri Lanka women’s game, the managers of the two teams are stuck at Kotla. It’s past midnight and the officials are waiting to get their hands on their national flags. As is the convention, teams travel to venue with their flags which are hoisted at the stadium. After the game, the flags are returned to the teams. At Kotla, there is no one to bring the flags down. Moreover, the door to the roof too is locked.

***

On the day of the first game, the media committee, on reaching the press box, gets a rude shock. They are welcomed by a flight of flying pigeons. The officials are puzzled as this is a freshly refurbished facility. A glass pane at the media enclosure, which was firmly in place till the day before, has been removed. The elevation of DDCA’s new media officer has not gone down well with some.

***

An embarrassing situation is avoided at the end of the India-Pakistan women’s game. The name of the Indian team manager Sunita Sharma is nominated to give the player of the match award. An official realises that it could lead to an odd situation where the manager of one team will be part of the presentation party. And if India lose, its manager would end up giving the trophy to a Pakistani player. Hence Sharma’s name is removed.

***

On the eve of the semis, the DDCA officials are worried. They need to obtain the liquor license for the six corporate boxes. It is learnt that Mudgal was not in favour of the DDCA applying for a license as the bar license of the association has been canceled after liquor was served on Gandhi Jayanti.

***

Pehalwan at DDCA office

Officials at the DDCA had a surprise visitor on Tuesday. Indian National Lok Dal councillor Krishan Pehalwan was seen in the room of a director of the DDCA on Tuesday. Pehalwan has been in the news after he was arrested earlier this month on charges of criminal conspiracy and destroying evidence in connection with the shooting of two personal security officers at his farmhouse. “I was told by some of my colleagues that Krishan Pehalwan was at the DDCA office,” DDCA vice president Chetan Chauhan said. Joint secretary Dinesh Kumar Sharma said: “Krishan Pehalwan was at the DDCA office today.” The presence of Pehalwan has not gone down well with a section of DDCA officials who feel that he was invited to Kotla by a certain director as a show of strength.

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