With Tamil Nadu's Cauvery river water sharing row with Karnataka heating up, a few IPL matches of the present season, which began on Saturday, might be shifted from Chennai and Bengaluru to a stadium in Kerala.
The matches that could be held in Kerala include those involving Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore – which are supposed to be held at venues in Chennai and Bengaluru. The MA Chidambaram stadium is supposed to host a total of seven matches.
Kerala Cricket Association Jayesh George told the media on Sunday that talks for these changes have already begun.
"Last night, CSK CEO K.S. Viswanathan spoke to me about this and today top officials of the BCCI and IPL, including Amitabh Choudhary and Rajeev Shukla, also talked to me. We have expressed our willingness to stage IPL matches in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. We will hear from them in the next few days," he said
Tamil Nadu Cricket Association’s Kasi Viswanathan however denied the claim, saying it was ‘false news’ when questioned by the media.
The state-of-the-art Greenfield Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram could be the most likely venue if Kerala is allotted any of the IPL matches as the Kochi venue which was the home ground of the Kochi Tuskers in 2011 could take a while before it would be match-ready.
The Greenfield Stadium staged the India vs New Zealand T20 last year and can be reached by road in less than eight hours from Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu has been witnessing protests over the Central government's failure to set up a Cauvery Management Board after the Supreme Court reduced its share of Cauvery water while Karnataka's share was increased.
Political parties, farmers and even actors have been holding protests against the non-formation of the Cauvery Management Board. They have further been demanding that IPL matches not be conducted in Chennai, as it would remove focus from the ongoing struggle against the Centre.
In fact, superstar Rajinikanth on Sunday, termed it an ‘embarrassment' for the state to host IPL matches. He further said that players should wear black bands around their arms while playing matches, to make the country notice Tamil Nadu’s distress.
When TNM had earlier contacted IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla over the demands for change in venue, he had said that IPL had no connection to Cauvery. He further alleged that the tournament had become a punching bag in political fights.
(With inputs from IANS)