Pune’s race against time

Sports Reporter
Friday, 13 April 2018

The MCA faces tough task to get the stadium ready for Chennai Super Kings’s home games.

Pune: Amidst the hustle and bustle at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium on Thursday, the visit of CSK officials brought mixed vibes of excitement and anxiety with it.

Being chosen as an alternative venue to host rest of Chennai Super Kings’s (CSK) home games, the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) officials and local cricket authorities have little time to put arrangements in place as CSK play their next home game on April 20 against Rajasthan Royals. 

The 35,000 capacity MCA Stadium, needs some work in order to be spic  and span in a week’s time. In addition to that, the MCA needs to sort out few administrative issues in order to push through the formalities smoothly.

“ We need to sort out few logistical things in order to be match-ready come April 20, there are some huge challenges but we are up for it,” said an official who did not wish to be quoted.

“We were in touch with BCCI as well franchise officials. We are prepared for the challenge as the match is to be hosted in a just few days,” he continued. 

The MCA accepted the Lodha committee reforms, thus making its current office-bearers defunct. So unless the fresh elections, the acting secretary would be holding all rights on behalf of the Association. Top officials of the Chennai-based franchise, including CEO Kasi Viswanathan, held meetings with the local authorities to get a few permissions and arrangements in place.

Bigger issues for the franchise would be arranging and managing ticket sales, security forces, in-stadia advertising, ground-readiness and local accreditations.

Why Pune?
CSK skipper MS Dhoni had played for now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant for two years when the Super Kings were serving suspension. The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune is logistically well placed to make the changes from the official broadcaster’s point of view, while the pitch at the venue is a slow one, something similar to the what one gets to see at Chepuak.

Players security is crucial
Considering 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.

This wasn’t the first time CSK have been forced to play their home games outside of Chennai. In 2014, the franchise had Ranchi as their ‘home ground’ after Sri Lankan players were banned from playing in the city.

CSK’ matches in Pune
 April 20: vs Rajasthan Royals
 April 28: vs Mumbai Indians
 April 30: vs Delhi Daredevils
 May 5:  vs R Challengers Bangalore
 May 13:  vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
 May 20: vs Kings XI Punjab

CSK coach, Fleming ‘sad’ on home venue shift 
Expressing his dismay, CSK coach Stephen Fleming tweeted: “Sad to be leaving Chennai today. Great to be back and again experience the love and passion the  Tamil Nadu fans have for cricket and CSK. I trust a ‘peaceful’ resolution is found soon for the problems at hand. Thanks to everyone for making the team so  welcome.”

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