What's the story?
Pune will host the remaining seven 'home' matches of two-time IPL Champions Chennai Super Kings after it was confirmed earlier in the day that the matches would be moved out of the capital city following the protests surrounding the Cauvery water dispute in several parts of Tamil Nadu.
While CSK played their opening home match of the 2018 IPL season against KKR at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai amidst a strong police presence, IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla stated that it was impossible to carry on playing in Chennai considering the political tension prevailing in the South Indian state.
"We had decided to hold all IPL matches in Chennai on police's assurance that adequate security would be provided," Rajiv Shukla said. "But today Chennai Police informed CSK that they won't be able to do it. So matches are now being shifted. Pune is one of our options."
In case you didn't know...
Ahead of the match between CSK and KKR on Tuesday, members of a few fringe political parties staged protests outside the stadium as well as several parts of Chennai demanding the IPL matches to be moved out of the city until the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) was set up as directed by the honourable Supreme Court of India.
The unruly scenes and demonstrations meant that the players could only reach the venue later than planned forcing the toss to be delayed by nearly 15 minutes and only after the players could be ushered into the venue through the back gate at the Chepauk.
The heart of the matter
While the match started on time, a shoe was hurled on to the ground close to CSK's Faf du Plessis during the eighth over of the KKR innings by a few members of a fringe political party who had managed to sneak into the venue.
Even though the protesters were quickly taken away by the police and evicted from the stadium, the incident did create a sense of panic among the fans who had flocked into the stadium to watch what was CSK's first match at the Chepauk for nearly three years.
The match turned out to be a nail-biter with the hosts winning the contest by chasing a daunting target of 203 with a ball to spare but unfortunately, the Chennai crowd will be robbed of any more matches in this year's IPL.
While Trivandrum, Vishakpatnam, Rajkot and Pune were chosen as standby venues following the decision, the IPL governing council has seemingly zeroed in on Pune as the most likely replacement.
CSK will play their third match of IPL 2018 on April 15 when they take on Kings XI Punjab at Indore while their next home game is scheduled to be held on April 20 against Rajasthan Royals.
It is really unfortunate to see that the IPL matches scheduled to be held in Chennai have been forced out over the Cauvery water dispute, robbing the cricket-loving public of the city of quality cricket.
The IPL was an easy target for the protesters and it is sad that sports have fallen prey to a protest that has an underlying political colour to it.
Security of the players and fans are of paramount importance and considering the amount of planning and arrangements that go into place for such a big event as the IPL, it is only understandable that the IPL governing council has been forced to take a call on moving the matches out of Chennai.
The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune is likely to be the host venue for CSK for the remainder of this IPL season and it is a venue which many players from the CSK squad, including skipper MS Dhoni and Faf du Plessis will be familiar with owing to their time with Rising Pune Supergiants when CSK were serving their two-year ban from the IPL.Published 11 Apr 2018, 21:48 IST