BCCI settles for Pune after considering Visakhapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram and Lucknow
Owing to security concerns, the remaining six matches of the Indian Premier League in Chennai have been moved out of the city. Pune will be CSK’s new home venue.
There were protests and disruption of traffic by fringe political outfits over the Cauvery issue before and during CSK’s first home game in over two years — against Kolkata Knight Riders — here on Tuesday.
“The safety of the teams and the spectators were the reasons for the shifting of the matches,” said BCCI’s acting president C.K. Khanna. “Pune will host all the [CSK home] matches,” he added.
Pune was chosen ahead of Visakhapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram and Lucknow, the three other venues considered by the BCCI.
Meeting with police
The decision was taken after a meeting between CSK CEO K.S. Viswanathan and Chennai Commissioner of Police A.K. Viswanathan on Wednesday afternoon.
The CSK official said: “The Commissioner told me that given the situation in the city and the protests, it would be better to reschedule the matches. We then conveyed the same to the BCCI.”
Asked what he meant by “reschedule,” Mr. Viswanathan said that since the IPL matches could not be shifted to any other date at this point, they had to be moved out of the city. “It is sad and we are disappointed,” he added.
Asked why Ranchi, the hometown of CSK’s iconic captain M.S. Dhoni was not considered, he said: “It was not in the list given to us by the Board.” CSK has played some of its ‘home’ matches in the past at Ranchi.
Chennai losing out on matches has left CSK fans and cricket lovers in the city disappointed. Despite the traffic snarls, several fans walked their way to the stadium and all the stands available for Tuesday’s match were packed. Apart from a shoe-throwing incident, the proceedings inside the stadium were largely peaceful.
There was considerable excitement in the city ahead of CSK’s return to Chennai. Even the side’s practice sessions attracted over 8,000 spectators.
The decision to move the IPL matches out of Chennai comes despite the Supreme Court’s repeated exhortation to the Tamil Nadu government to maintain calm and restore peace in the State while the court was examining the Cauvery dispute.
Chief Justice Dipak Misra had specifically addressed Tamil Nadu’s lawyers during the Cauvery hearing on the need to control the violence and agitations in the State so that normal life could continue unhindered.
The Chief Justice had made it plain that it was the obligation of the State to restore calm when the Supreme Court is in the process of finalising the scheme, to be prepared by the Centre by May 3, for allocation of Cauvery water to the riparian States.
(With Vijay Lokapally & Krishnadas Rajagopal)