The Chennai Super Kings, one of the most loved IPL franchises, would have hoped for a warm welcome to the Indian Premier League after a gap of two years. Instead, it is facing protests by various Tamil groups over the Cauvery issue ahead of the match against Kolkata Knight Riders at MA Chidambaram stadium on Tuesday.
The Chennai Super Kings, one of the most loved IPL franchises, would have hoped for a warm welcome to the Indian Premier League after a gap of two years. Instead, it is facing protests by various Tamil groups over the Cauvery issue ahead of the match against Kolkata Knight Riders at MA Chidambaram stadium on Tuesday. Tamil group Thamizhaga Vazhvumurai Katchi (TVK), led by T Velmurugan, has even issued a threat saying that it won’t be responsible if something happens to the players. “When we are fighting for our basic rights, we don’t want this to take place here,” Velmurugan said, while adding that his group won’t be responsible if something happens to the players when they are out for sight-seeing or shopping during their stay in Chennai.
The Tamil film industry has also expressed its unhappiness with the cricket board holding a game carnival in the state at a time when it is reeling under several serious issues. Superstar-turned-politician Rajinikanth has also backed the demand saying that it is an embarrassment to think of IPL in the present situation in the state.
“It is an embarrassment to think of IPL at the present situation in the state. At least the members of the Chennai Super Kings should wear a black band during matches to express solidarity with the protesting groups,” the actor said.
He added that in case the Chennai Super Kings management and the BCCI are not comfortable doing this, fans who go to watch the IPL matches, should wear black clothes to support the protests.
Reacting to this, the Chennai police have asked BCCI to stop people wearing black clothes from entering the stadium.
Another actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan also joined the Tamil Nadu protesters in their fight against the Centre over the Cauvery issue. He joined the stage with Rajinikanth at a silent march held by the South Indian Artists’ Association along with other actors.
Tight security arrangements have been made for the first match of the season at Chepauk. The use of mobile phones, transistors, computers, cameras, or any other audio visual recording equipment, for recording and or communication of match details, statistics, images etc. are strictly prohibited. The fans have been asked to cooperate with Chennai Police and Security Guards.
Meanwhile, Kerala has emerged as an alternate destination if the matches are to be shifted from Chennai. The Kerala Cricket Association Jayesh George told media on Sunday that talks on 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.
The IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, on the contrary, said on Monday that the matches in Chennai will be held as per the schedule announced earlier and asked not to drag IPL into politics.
Kerala had hosted IPL matches in 2011 when it was the home ground of the Kochi Tuskers. Even if a few matches are transferred to Kerala, it would take some time for it to be IPL-ready which means that Chepauk will have to host at least 3 to 4 matches, anyway.