BCCI defers decision on playoff venue
The IPL governing council deferred the decision of shifting the two playoff games that were scheduled to be played in Chennai on May 21 and 22, respectively.
Following political pressure before the tournament, the BCCI asked franchises to refrain from fielding their Sri Lankan players in games played in Chennai. With Sri Lankans featuring in many teams, the franchises have been asking for the playoff games - the first qualifier and the eliminator - to be moved out of Chennai.
However, the IPL governing council, which met in Chennai on Monday, decided to adopt a wait-and-watch approach. "If the political issue in Tamil Nadu subsides, the question of shifting the games won't arise," said a BCCI insider, who attended the meeting. "The playoffs are still a month away, so there is no need to rush into any decision."
If the political turmoil is not resolved, the games might be played in Bangalore or Mumbai. Sri Lankan cricketers have been an integral part of the IPL since its inception in 2008. In the current season, three teams - Sunrisers Hyderabad, Pune Warriors and Delhi Daredevils - are led by Sri Lankans. Though Sunrisers and Warriors have benched Kumar Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews, respectively, in a bid to improve their team balance, they remain key members of the side.
Thisara Perera, the Sri Lankan all-rounder, has emerged as the leading performer for Sunrisers, who have won five of their seven games so far. As the tournament moves towards the half-way mark, Sunrisers are among the favourites to make it to the top four, along with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who have Muttiah Muralitharan and Tillakaratne Dilshan in their ranks.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo