New Delhi: Ratnakar Shetty, former professor of chemistry at Mumbai’s Wilson College and chief administrative officer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has been made responsible for organizing the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket World Cup (CWC) being co-hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The matches will be played in these countries between 19 February and 2 April 2011.
As tournament director, Shetty is busy visiting match venues in the three countries and meeting people to ensure everything goes according to the plan. In an interview, Shetty spoke about challenges facing the World Cup. Edited excerpts:
What is the biggest challenge in organizing the World Cup in India this time? How are the challenges different from those in 1987 and 1996?
From the year 2000 onwards, ICC has taken charge of the world events and it only grants hosting rights to member boards. All revenue except gate money goes to ICC.
The cricket council has also set out guidelines to be followed by the hosts and the events are supervised by a team from ICC. You will agree that there is huge change in security perception then and now and this is a big challenge.
How are you trying the address the security issue?
The home ministry has been extremely proactive and has convened several meetings in connection with the ICC CWC-2011. ICC security directorate with Shashank Manohar as the chairman has drawn up detailed plans for match venues as well as host countries. BCCI has insured all the matches for contingency liability and third party liability.
If you have to list out three priorities to make the 2011 World Cup a success, what would they be?
Ensure that there is a good turnout for the non-India games. Ensure the safety and security of players, officials and spectators. Make this event in the subcontinent a memorable one.
How do you plan to ensure good spectator turnout for non-India matches?
We have advised all the venues to keep ticket rates as low and affordable as possible and to invite school and college students to be admitted for free on their identity cards.
What is the total expenditure on the championship and how much revenue does ICC plan to generate from the World Cup?
The total budget for the event is $115 million (Rs521 crore). I cannot comment on the income of ICC.
There have been some reports of delay in preparedness of stadiums?
Yes, there has been a delay with Wankhede Stadium and Eden Gardens and three venues in Sri Lanka.
I think all venues must realize the need to plan and execute the redevelopment work in such a manner that the stadium is ready at least three months before the start of an event.
How many spectators are the World Cup games expected to attract, especially since the event will be followed shortly by the Indian Premier League that tends to draw larger crowds? Are the one day internationals still a big attraction?
To be honest, this World Cup will be a test in terms of spectator turnout for non-India games. ICC CWC-2011 has its own place of priority in cricket as it brings out the best in the teams and will still attract spectator interest.