Cauvery turmoil forces BCCI to shift CSK home games to Pune from Chennai

Pune was finalised since CSK captain MS Dhoni is familiar with the conditions having played two seasons with Rising Pune Supergiants.

Published: 11th April 2018 11:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th April 2018 12:09 PM   |  A+A-

Chennai Super Kings players during a practice session at Chennai's Chepauk stadium (File | EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Chennai Super Kings’ homecoming has lasted all but one match. The IPL Governing Council on Wednesday announced Pune would play host to CSK’s remaining seven league matches of the season. The decision was taken after the franchise’s CEO Kasi Viswanathan asked the BCCI to shift the matches as the city police sought rescheduling of fixtures as it could not assure security due to the ongoing protests over the Cauvery issue.

Despite the 4,000-member-strong police security around the M A Chidambaram Stadium for the Tuesday’s match, a few protesters managed to enter the stadium by posing as cricket fans and pelted footwear into the ground. A few cricket fans were also harassed by the protesters and the traffic was thrown out of gear in many parts of the city on Tuesday evening.

Though the BCCI and the IPL GC didn’t raise any distress calls, it is reliably learnt that with protestors warning of more disruption, the franchise was advised to look for alternate options.Viswanathan said he met Chennai city police commissioner A K Viswanathan on Wednesday evening, following which CSK informed the BCCI and the IPL GC about the prevailing situation. “The commissioner wanted the matches to be rescheduled keeping in mind the situation in the city. But that will be logistically impossible because it involves a lot of stakeholders. Without adequate security measures, we didn’t want to risk anything and we told the BCCI to look for alternate venues,” he said.

However, when asked by Express, a senior police officer denied this. “We have not told them that we won’t be able to provide security. We only conveyed that we are in the process of assessing possible issues that might arise,” he said. But the decision to move the remaining matches out of Chennai would rob off the home advantage for the team for rest of the season.

Though CSK couldn’t pick their choice of venue, they had particular liking for Pune as its captain MS Dhoni has familiarity with conditions, thanks to his two-year stint with Rising Pune Supergiant. Though Vizag and Thiruvananthapuram were also considered as alternate venues, logistical challenges and better connectivity with other host cities made Pune the favoured option. “Pune is match-ready and given the short time available it is the best option for all parties concerned,” IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said.

Pune has better flight connectivity with the rest of the country. “Pune is in line to host all the remaining home matches thanks to its better connectivity. We don’t have much of a time and the stadium has to be match-ready. MCA has informed us that it has everything in place. We are working on the logistics, and a confirmation would be out soon,” IPL GC chairman Rajeev Shukla told this newspaper.

Moving the matches out of Chennai means TNCA will lose over Rs 3.6 crore as match fee from CSK and state government will also lose what would have been 39 per cent of the price of each ticket as part of entertainment tax and GST.

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi president Thol Thirumavalavan was one of first political leader to react to the decision. “We welcome the decision to shift the venue for IPL matches. Had they taken this decision a little earlier, it would have been taken as respecting the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu,” Thirumavalavan said in a statement.

(With inputs from Jayanthi Pawar)


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