The Indian Premier League (IPL) has moved the Chennai Super Kings’ remaining home matches to Pune amid security concerns over the Twenty20 cricket franchise playing its remaining games at its M. A. Chidambaram Stadium.
The decision comes amid ongoing protests in Chennai over the Cauvery river water issue, a long-running dispute between Tamil Nadu and its neighbouring state Karnataka. Protests during the Super Kings’ opening home game against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday led to breaks in play during the match at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium.
Pune, along with Visakhapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram and Rajkot were considered as replacement venues. The Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency said Pune was selected as the Super Kings captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, was familiar with the conditions having played the past two IPL seasons with the Rising Pune Supergiants.
IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said: “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.”
An IPL source added: “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 Super Kings are scheduled to play their next ‘home’ game in Pune against the Rajasthan Royals on April 20. The local Maharashtra Cricket Association has said it is ready to stage games despite the short notice.
An official from the Association told PTI: “We were in touch with BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) as well franchise officials. We are prepared for the challenge as the match is to be hosted in a just few days.”
Chennai has lost hosting rights to IPL games with the Super Kings having returned to the League this season following a two-year suspension for its part in the spot-fixing scandal that hit the 2013 edition.