Javier Ceppi clears ambiguity over any dispute on Kerala Blasters' JNI Stadium hosting India-WI ODI in Kochi
What’s the story?
The Indian team will be hosting West Indies later this year across all the formats. While one of the games in the five-match ODI series has been allotted to Kerala, the move by Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) to try and host the game at Jawaharlal Nehru International (JNI) stadium in Kochi, overlooking Thiruvananthapuram has received much flak.
This selection of venue has drawn ire amongst a certain section of sports followers. The major concern raised by fans is about the digging up of the ground to relay cricket pitches at the stadium which has met FIFA standards as a football turf.
In case you did not know...
The JNI Stadium has been the home ground of Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League for the last four seasons and was one of the major venues during the 2017 U-17 World Cup.
The heart of the matter
India will host the Islanders for three Tests, five ODIs and a one-off T20I. The BCCI's tours and fixtures committee allotted the fixture to the KCA a couple of days ago. But KCA’s recent attempt has led certain fans to believe that the board is playing power politics to regain control of the Jawaharlal Nehru International.
Clearing any air of ambiguity, Tournament Director of the U-17 World Cup Javier Ceppi put out a Tweet. The Chilean stated that the turf was curated in such a way that it can be used as a multipurpose stadium.
You can see his Tweet below:
KCA however, maintains it is not about cricket against football. Though the Sports Hub in Thiruvananthapuram has hosted a T20 successfully, Kochi already has a reputation as an ODI venue.
Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor has also spoken to CoA Chief Vinod Rai and it remains to be seen how things unfold.
It looks like a bizarre decision to transfer the ODI fixture from a match-ready Trivandrum stadium to Kochi, whose ground was last used for the U-17 Football World Cup.