Putting an end to days long speculation which had snowballed into a controversy in the state, with both football buffs and cricket officials divided on the issue, the venue of India-West Indies ODI has now been shifted out of Kochi.
The ODI scheduled for November 1 will be held at the Green Field Stadium at Kariavattom in Thiruvananthapuram instead.
The Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) decided to shift the venue out of the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium Kochi after a discussion with Sports Minister AC Moideen in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday morning.
The government’s stand was to shift the venue out of Kochi since it has become a point of debate, with several people including Sachin Tendulkar objecting to the digging up of the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium to lay a cricket pitch. The stadium was developed as a world class football stadium for the FIFA U-17 World Cup which was held last year. It is also the home stadium of Kerala Blasters.
On Thursday, KCA decided to shift the event out of Kochi after the Sports Minister gave an assurance at the meeting that support will be provided to build a new stadium at Kochi.
KCA General Secretary Jayesh George told media that the decision was taken as per the advice of the minister. “The minister advised us to resolve the issue without any controversy. Also the minister gave assurance that the government will initiate the building of a new stadium at Kochi. It has been decided in principle to shift the venue. Final decision will be taken at the General body meeting of KCA, but the general body won’t go against the decision as we respect the government’s direction.”
In the meeting it was also decided that in future when the state is selected as a venue for cricket tournaments, both Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram will be considered equally.
The row was sparked off as football buffs feared that the turf at the Kochi stadium will be destroyed for a cricket pitch for the match.