Rajiv Shukla, Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman, said that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will hold a meeting on Friday (April 15) in Delhi to act on Bombay High Court’s order to move out all the IPL matches scheduled to be played in drought-hit Maharashtra after May 1.
“After the court verdict, we are working out the plan by which the verdict can be implemented,” he said on Thursday (April 14) at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Stadium in Rajkot. “Yesterday only we decided that we are not going for appeal. We will be implementing the verdict given by the Mumbai High Court.”
He, however, stated that they will berequesting for certain leeway from the Court. “Since there is a match on April 29 and May 1 in Pune – back-to-back matches – it will be almost impossible to move the equipment in 24 hours to another venue. So that’s a technical problem, so we are going to appeal tomorrow to the Mumbai HC if they can allow one more match in Pune. Rest of the matches will be shifted.”
“Major logistic problems is movement of equipment. Gigantic exercise. Then all those things – look and feel of stadium, ticketing, maintenance of ground and wickets. KXIP has gone back to old pattern – their three matches (will be moved out of Nagpur and) will be played in Mohali and Dharamsala.”
Citing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Loksatta Movement, the Bombay High Court had earlier dismissed BCCI’s request of hosting matches in Maharashtra in return of donating Rs 5 Crore to the Chief Minister’s drought relief fund and also donating 40 lakh litres of water to the farmers in Vidarbha.
Speaking on whether they will still donate to the CM’s fund, Shukla said, “We had given the offer to the court, (but the) court said ‘No. You take matches out of there.’ We will react as per the court’s order.”
“We are equally sympathetic for the farmers. We also agree with the court that the interests of the farmers is paramount. The matter has been settled by the court. Whatever the court has said we are ready to do. So far we have not received any [direction] from the court,” he added.
While, Kanpur, Raipur and Visakhapatnam have been considered as possible venues for hosting matches to be shifted out of Maharashtra, Jaipur and Indore may also be in the fray.
“RCA (Rajasthan Cricket Association) can’t host the ground, but the government has approached us that they will conduct it. We will put Jaipur also in the option. Let’s see how the franchises react. We can host [matches without RCA being there]. There is a sports council of the government.
“Indore, I have just spoken to the MPCA secretary. He is checking with the authorities because Kumbh Mela is going on and all the security forces have been deployed there. Whether government will be able to provide forces or not has to be seen. Kanpur, Raipur and Vizag are the main options.”
He has however, ruled out the possibility of Chennai, a stadium where Rising Pune Supergiants enjoy a strong fan-following, and Ranchi, MS Dhoni’s home ground, being discussed as alternative venues to host the home matches of Mumbai and Pune franchises.
Currently, Gujarat Lions are scheduled to play two of their home matches at Kanpur’s Green Park Stadium. If either of the two affected franchises – Mumbai or Pune – decide to opt for Kanpur as their home ground, Rajkot will host the last two home matches of Gujarat Lions.