KOCHI: The BCCI's decision to award the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) the right to host a One Day International match between India and West Indies on November 1 could lead to a clash between cricket and football after the KCA officials made it clear that they would like to host the ODI at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi.
The Kochi stadium is also home to the Indian Super League club Kerala Blasters FC which could lead to a potential clash of dates between their domestic home games and the international cricket match. The ISL season normally begins in October every year and lasts for around four months.
"The KCA have been informed by the BCCI that we will be hosting the India vs West Indies ODI on November 1. It is a proud moment for the state association and we were due to host an ODI for some time now," said KCA secretary Jayesh George adding that Kochi is KCA's top preference to host the game.
It was the recently opened Greenfield International Stadium in Karivattom, Thiruvananthapuram that hosted the last international game awarded to the state -- a T20 International between India and New Zeland on November 7, 2017.
"We moved the match to the Greenfield Stadium only because the Kochi stadium was used by the FIFA for the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. But we have an agreement in place with the stadium owners Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) that lets us have the first option to host matches there," said Jayesh.
The GCDA had leased out the stadium to the KCA for 30 years starting in 2014. "It was a one-off decision to play in the capital city as we had to respect the FIFA regulations. We will definitely want to conduct the ODI in Kochi now that the World Cup is over," said Ronklin John, the KCA president.
"The cricket pitch at the Kaloor stadium was removed for the World Cup, but we have enough time to prepare a new pitch for the match," Ronklin said. Meanwhile, Kerala Football Association (KFA) secretary Anilkumar P said that cricket and football can be held at the venue if there is a proper understanding between the parties involved.
"The KCA has an agreement with the GCDA. But, the Kerala Blasters can ask the ISL authorities to schedule their home matches such that there is enough time to get the pitch back to a proper condition after hosting the ODI cricket match," said Anilkumar.
The West Indies will play two Test, five ODIs and a one-off T20I in India. Mumbai, Guwahati, Indore and Pune will host the other ODIS in the series in November. West Indies are familiar visitors to Kochi having played in both the preivous ODIs held here in 2013 and 2014. India won the 2013 match by six wickets while Windies were the victors in the last match held here in October 2014.