indian cricket
The Indian cricket team during a practice session in Dharamsala earlier this yearIANS

The ICC World T20 is just a bit more than three months away. The prestigious cricket tournament is set to be hosted in India for the first time in six years, and the Men in Blue can surely fancy their chances of emulating their performance of 2007.

MS Dhoni's men won the inaugural edition of the ICC World T20 in 2007, after a dramatic victory over arch-rivals Pakistan in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Eden Gardens in Kolkata will be hosting the final of the competition on 3 April, and one of the most-anticipated matches of the tournament — the battle between India and Pakistan — will take place at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala on 19 March.

The other stadiums holding the matches include the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground in New Delhi, the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali, and the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur.

Nagpur and Dharamsala are the venues where the majority of the matches will take place. While Dharamasala will host eight group matches, Nagpur will hold nine group matches.

In the presence of gigantic stadiums like the Eden Gardens or the Chinnaswamy Stadium, some cricket fans have questioned the BCCI's decision to allot the majority of the games to the two venues, where the stadium capacity is not very good.

BCCI president Shashank Manohar has given a detailed explanation on this. "When the ICC decided to hold the T20 event, India (BCCI) had offered eight venues for hosting the tournament," Manohar was quoted by BCCI's official website as saying.

"The ICC was not willing to give more than five venues due to cost constraints. But India being a huge country with lot many stadiums, Anurag Thakur, the Secretary of the Board at the Barbados meeting of the ICC, had clearly stated that India would not agree (for) less than eight venues.

"On paper, you may find that more matches are allotted to Nagpur and Dharamsala, but the matches have been equally distributed as far as the main draw is concerned. There are matches which are the qualifiers where Oman, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Ireland, Scotland are playing for the two spots in the main draw. Because of cost constraints, the ICC had decided to hold these matches only at two venues. These matches are played at these two venues as they are cheapest venues.

"If the ICC decided to hold these matches at different venues, the transport and logistical costs would be much more as the television crew would have to be shifted from one venue to another. The teams too would have to be shifted. So the costs saved are huge.

"Secondly, the teams would be staying at one venue for eight days. The accommodation cost is cheapest at Nagpur and Dharamsala, and that is the reason these two venues have been given qualifiers.

"As far as the main round is concerned, India games have been allotted to Mohali, Dharamsala, Nagpur and Bengaluru. The semi-final games are allotted to Mumbai and Delhi and the final is allotted to Kolkata. According to me, equal and even distribution has been made as far as the main round matches are concerned.

"As far as qualifiers are concerned, I don't think this is an issue in view of the explanations I have given as to why Nagpur and Dharamsala have been allotted more games. If Nagpur and Dharamsala wanted, they could have hosted the semi-finals. Nagpur could have hosted the final as it is the best stadium with the capacity of 45,000 people."

Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand are alongside India in Group 2 of the competition. There are two groups, and the top 2 from each group make it to the playoffs.

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