The Cauvery water dispute on Wednesday forced the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to shift Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) remaining home games to Pune as the state administration expressed inability to ensure adequate security arrangements for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 matches.
“The matches had to be shifted out of Chennai as police had said that they were unable to provide security in the prevailing situation. CSK is not averse to shifting base to Pune,” IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla said.
There were already calls by various groups not to host cricket matches in Chennai when the state was facing such a grave situation.
Massive protests were witnessed on Tuesday ahead of the match between CSK and Kolkata Knight Riders and an identified protestor flung a shoe at CSK’s Ravindra Jadeja during the match.
The BCCI had short-listed four cities to host matches but eventually Pune was finalised since CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is familiar with the conditions having played two seasons with Rising Pune Supergiants.
Shukla had also spoken to the Union Home Secretary on Tuesday, seeking government intervention in smooth conduct of IPL matches in Chennai.
Committee of Administrator (CoA) chief Vinod Rai had earlier said the prevailing situation has forced them to explore options and they had kept four alternative venues ready. Apart from Pune, Visakhapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram, and Rajkot were selected as stand-by venues.
Asked why Pune was selected, an IPL source said that captain Dhoni knows the conditions well and logistically it made sense to have Pune as the new venue instead of Visakhapatnam.
“There are only a few direct flights available from Vizag. If the team has to travel to Indore, then they had to reach Indore via Delhi. Pune has better connectivity, so it was decided that CSK shift base to Pune,” the source said.
Meanwhile, an official from the Maharashtra Cricket Association said they are ready to host matches.
“We were in touch with BCCI as well franchise officials. We are prepared for the challenge as the match is to be hosted in a just few days,” said the official who did not wish to be quoted.
The organisers have a few days to put arrangements in place as CSK play their next home game on April 20 against Rajasthan Royals.
IPL’s most popular franchise CSK has made a comeback to the league after serving two-year suspension for its role in the 2013-spot fixing scandal in 2013.