When the IPL Governing Council meet on Monday in Chennai, there would be mounting pressure from franchisees to shift the play-offs from Chennai, which is slated to host the first qualifier and the eliminator on May 21 and 22 respectively. Speculations are rife that they would eventually succumb to this pressure. Whether they budge or not, the franchisees, especially those with key players from Sri Lanka, would massively coerce the governing council to move the games out of Chennai.
Even from the onset, they were dismayed that the GC had instructed them not to field any Lankan player in their fixtures in Chennai, because of political reasons. Though with indignation, they swallowed the bitter pill. But as the IPL enters a significant stage, they would want to field their best eleven in Chennai.
For example, if Sunrisers Hyderabad are to play here, they would have to do so without Kumar Sangakkara and Thisara Perera. The latter especially has been in good form. Mumbai Indians would be without their linchpin Lasith Malinga. Dot, dot, dot for Pune Warriors and Daredevils. Even Royal Challengers would be without the options of T Dilshan and Muttiah Muralitharan, though they are not part of the regular eleven.
Apparently, the franchisees would collectively request the GC. “We don’t want a depleted side playing in Chennai in a play-off. Even teams without any Lankan player would back us, and we’ll definitely raise the issue in the meeting,” a franchisee support staff said.
A TNCA official, though, said it’s unlikely that the matches would be moved. “Teams would naturally put pressure on the GC. But eventually, they are not the ones who take the decision. The GC has the final say,” he said.
Meanwhile, a BCCI official informed Cricinfo that even if the teams that reach the play-offs don’t have a player from SL, they would still want to change the venue. “Irrespective of the teams who make it to the top four, the games will have to be shifted from Chennai due to their sheer importance. There are going to be at least two teams with Lankan players who will make it to the last four. And it would be unjust on the teams to change their strategy.”