With the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking for Sri Lankan players and officials to be excluded from Indian Premier League (IPL) matches to be staged in Chennai, the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) has offered to host these matches at Kochi.
KCA secretary T.C. Mathew told IANS they would be glad to stage at Kochi all the matches that are scheduled in Chennai.
“We have already hosted IPL matches (fourth edition) in 2011 and we have no issues in organising it this time. I am meeting Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to discuss this issue because we require the full support of the State Government and the Kochi Corporation. We will have to get exemption in entertainment taxes,” said Mathew.
Jayalalithaa wrote the letter following increased political tension in the State over the treatment of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
The sixth edition of IPL is slated to begin from April 3 and Chennai has 10 matches in the calendar. In this year’s IPL, 13 Sri Lankan players have been included in various teams with Nuwan Kulasekara and Akila Dananjaya being members of the Chennai Super Kings.
The KCA is confident they can host the matches at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium at Kochi, which is the only one in the state of international standard and has already staged eight one day international (ODI) matches in the past 14 years. The last was held in January this year when the English team toured the country.
The stadium witnessed a full house in 2011 when the Kochi Tuskers played their IPL home matches. The team was later cancelled.