IPL 2013 April 20, 2013

IPL playoffs likely to shift out of Chennai


The IPL is likely to shift the first two playoff matches out of Chennai, the venue listed in the original schedule. That decision is likely to be taken at the IPL Governing Council meeting in Chennai on April 22 in the wake of mounting pressure from various franchises, who are adamant that not having the option to pick their Sri Lankan players reduces their strength considerably at Chepauk.

Under political pressure from the Tamil Nadu government to not allow Sri Lankan players to participate in the Chennai matches, the IPL had asked franchises to not include the 13 Sri Lankan players in the tournament. But with the close competition at the top of the table, BCCI officials have indicated to ESPNcricinfo that the IPL would need to change its original stance.

"Irrespective of the teams who make it to the top four, the games will have to be shifted from Chennai due to their sheer importance. There are going to be at least two teams with Sri Lankan players who will make it to the last four. And it would be unjust on the teams to change their strategy due to a state government's decision," an Indian board official said.

According to IPL rules, the defending champion stages the last two matches of the tournament while the losing finalist gets to host the first two matches of the closing stages. With Chennai Super Kings finishing as runner-up last year, Chennai had been slotted to host the first qualifier (first versus second) and the eliminator (third versus fourth) on May 21 and 22 respectively.

Some of the franchises were peeved at the fact that the Super Kings need not worry about playing their two Sri Lankan recruits, Nuwan Kulasekara and Akila Dananjaya, considering they had a strong and settled line-up. In contrast, teams like Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils, Pune Warriors and Sunrisers Hyderabad would be forced to bench high-profile names like Lasith Malinga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Kumar Sangakkara and Thisara Perera.

If the IPL takes the decision to shift the games then it also removes the bias element, as pointed out by certain franchises who feel the home advantage Super Kings have in the league phase is critical in a closely-fought tournament. It is also understood that security is not the stumbling block.

The franchises continue to remain united and want the knockout matches moved out of Chennai. "You can't do that (stage the playoffs in Chennai). When it comes to the Eliminator I would be horrified if we end up playing in an environment where there is no level playing field. If there are grey areas then you need to move the venue so that the tournament is played at the same level by all teams," one of the franchise's coach said.

According to him, a team could possibly bounce back during the league phase since there are 15 matches, but in the knockout phase there is not more than one chance. Hence the IPL does not "have to" but "must" move the games out of Chennai. "Chennai Super Kings as it is have a home advantage in the league matches with a strong line-up compared to some of the opposition, who at times have been forced to bench their Sri Lankan players, thus weakening their own strengths," the coach said.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CKIPL11 on April 26, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    This is the right decison to shift the play-offs from chennai to somewhere. Then only match will be in LIVE. Kolkatta is the right choice to play both play-off and final.

  • dummy4fb on April 22, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    Great decision! It will be fair if the playoffs get shifted to another venue.Sri Lankan players are so important for most IPL teams! Chennai banned SL players from playing there which was such a horrible decision.No politics in Cricket please.Afterall 3 Lankans are captains of 3 teams.I'm from Sri Lanka & we all love IPL so much!

  • dummy4fb on April 22, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    Should be moved to Bangalore.

  • QingdaoXI on April 22, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    IF CSK wants home supports they should opt for Ranchi as all the dhoni supporter will support CSK.

  • dummy4fb on April 22, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    I think its going to be a very good news for those teams which are having those Srilankan Players which are highly rated in their as a overseas players somebody like Hyderabad who doing really well and Thisara Pereara also wining games for them

  • satishchandar on April 22, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    It does make sense.. DD, MI, Sun risers are the only teams to be impacted by SL players loss.. Teams have 15 other games to make up for group stage if they lose because of the ban.. If i am a DD, MI, Sun risers fan, i would be disappointed not to play Mahela, Malinga and Thissera during playoffs.. It might even a game changing moment.. With the teracks relaid and not a great home advantage enjoyed, even CSK wouldn't worry that much about the shift.. If there is something they can do for balance act, move the match to neutral venue which would deprive lucky home advantage to other teams too.. Let it be Dharamsala or Ranchi or Ahmedabad..

  • ex-Srilankan on April 22, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    If I was from Chennai and was a CSK supporter, I would be terribly upset that rest of India does not care about their views. Where do your loyalities lie with your fellow countrymen in Chennai or someone else??

  • Nampally on April 21, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    CSK enjoyed unwanted advantage by shutting out the SL players from every team from playing in Chennai. Last year because of riots in Hyderabad all their home matches were shifted else where. The same rule should have been applied for CSK. The new proposal is a good decision but what took the Administators so long to make this no-brainer decision?

  • dummy4fb on April 21, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    yea.. pls shift it out from chennai to bangalore... where the best crowd you can get...

  • tally1983 on April 21, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    good decision, as it was unfair in the first place. if the local government complains, then they only have themselves to blame. if the local public complains then blame your state government.