BCCI referee stings DDCA: Highlights pathetic conditions at St Stephen’s


Qaiser Mohammad Ali


In a seemingly unending series of setbacks for the corruption-ridden DDCA, a match referee supervising an under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy match in Delhi has sent a scathing complaint to the BCCI about the extremely poor conditions for the game at the St Stephen’s ground.

Ratnakar Shetty, General Manager (Game Development), described the complaint a “most disgusting report” while forwarding it to DDCA’s working president Chetan Chauhan, said a source.

In his report on the prevailing conditions at the St Stephen’s Ground, where the Delhi-Bengal match is on, a hassled referee Prakash Bhatt has highlighted many “shortcomings” at the venue, including “dirty and unhygienic” players’ dressing rooms.

“The changing rooms given to the players and officials were so dirty and unhygienic that I had to call sweepers and cleaners to wash and clean them even before entering it. The washrooms inside those rooms were not even in condition to use,” Bhatt has written in his mail to the BCCI, said the source quoting from the compliant.

“There were number of coordinators and officials from DDCA at the ground but they had no manpower of right persons to do this jobs (sic),” wrote the former Gujarat Ranji player.

It is clear that before writing the complaint Bhatt did a thorough research about the events leading to the start of the four-day match.

“The venue (St Stephen’s ground) was decided 100% only a day before the game, as the video analyst could bring all the cables and stuff in the morning of the previous day of the game. I have gathered from local officials that there were some payment issues pending for this venue so they denied the permission to allow even practice for DDCA team. Finally, it was resolved just in time by DDCA to conduct game here at St Stephen’s ground,” said Bhatt in his letter.

Bhatt, 45, also complained that on Sunday no vehicle reached his hotel to pick the match officials, including umpires, to take them to the ground.

“Today on the second day [Sunday], the vehicle for us officials didn’t report at the hotel, the coordinator was not aware which vehicle and driver are going to report at the hotel, we waited for 15 minutes before we took an auto [three-wheeler] to reach to the ground,” wrote a completely disgusted Bhatt.

“The hotel does not have hot water shower facility all the time, room’s ACs are also not in top working conditions,” he explained his helplessness in the letter to the BCCI.

The officials are lodged at hotel Broadway, a “favourite” of a DDCA office-bearer.

“I am trying my best to keep communication going with the concerned DDCA people for the basic facilities for players and officials and for the smooth functioning of the game,” said Bhatt.

The DDCA is in complete disarray at present. There is a spate of corruption cases going on against some of the officials of the association and the administration seems to have collapsed as is evident from incidents like the ones highlighted by Bhatt.

It now remains to be seen what disciplinary action, if any, the DDCA takes against the erring officials in the face of the match referee’s scathing complaint and the BCCI taking a strong note of it.

While the organisational ability of the DDCA has once again been exposed by the match referee’s report, on field the Delhi under-19 team is facing an uphill task of staving off an imminent-looking defeat against a visiting team that shone brightly in the first innings.

Bengal, thanks Avijit Singh’s 155, posted 341 in their first innings and shot out Delhi for a mere 190 and took a crucial 151-run lead. In the second innings, the Delhi batsmen fared just a shade better and were 251 for nine wickets at close of the third and penultimate day.

Delhi are now 100 runs head and have one wicket in hand. If Bengal dismiss the last Delhi batsman cheaply on Tuesday, they will have the entire day to themselves to notch the required runs. And if the Delhi bowlers rise to the occasion and notch a win, their performance will be a rare bright spot for an association that is in complete darkness.