CHENNAI: On Thursday, when the Chennai Super Kings squad landed in Chandigarh for Sunday’s IPL match against Kings XI Punjab, the franchise’s CEO Kasi Viswanathan checked in at a hotel in Pune, the team’s new ‘home’ for the rest of the season.Viswanathan also visited the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in the city’s outskirts to take stock of things and assess preparations, as the venue hardly has time to be ready for the match between CSK and Rajasthan Royals on April 20.
Even as the squad left for Chandigarh, many of the players and support staff were hoping for a peaceful end to the protests that forced the matches to be moved out of Chennai.
“Sad to be leaving Chennai. Great to be back and again experience the love and passion the Tamil Nadu fans have for cricket and CSK. I trust a ‘peaceful’ resolution is found soon for the problems at hand,” head coach Stephen Fleming said in a tweet.
Even assistant coach Mike Hussey, who on the eve of the match against Kolkata Knight Riders said he was disturbed by the events, tweeted, “Very sad that we have to play our remaining home games away from Chennai. Feeling for the players and the fans but also hoping for a peaceful and swift resolution to the current problems.”
Though the team has won both matches so far, the venue shift is bound to cause a bit of problem to the side. CSK had filled their side with spinners, keeping in mind conditions at MAC Stadium, and will have to devise other plans to play at the smaller stadium in Pune.
To add to the woes, they will be without an injured Suresh Raina, who is set to miss his first-ever match for CSK in nine years. David Willey, the replacement for Kedar Jadhav, is unlikely to arrive on time for the match against Punjab because of pending visa work.
The venue shift will also lead to huge losses. Though the franchise had insured their matches in Chennai, the unforeseen circumstances have left them with a bill that is likely to be in the region of Rs 10 crore.
“There are lots of logistical challenges we have to overcome, like flight tickets and hotels. We usually insure matches against things like rain, but this happened because of other factors and it doesn’t have any cover. This has exceeded our budget, more than we actually anticipated,” Viswanathan Express.
For the record, the team had to handle the accommodation and travel of nearly 50 persons, including players, support staff, officials and family members.