The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has refused to host two India U-19 ‘Tests’ against England scheduled at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium next month.
The Tamil Nadu unit has, in a letter to the BCCI CEO, Rahul Johri, expressed its inability to stage the games, starting on February 13.
The BCCI had notified the TNCA about the matches a month ago. However, in the letter to Johri, the Tamil Nadu unit joint secretary, RJ Palani, says, “We regret to inform you that we are unable to host the matches at Chennai due to various domestic programmes scheduled during the period.”
However, the decision is likely to be interpreted as a response to the Supreme Court order on January 2 ousting top officials of the BCCI and its state units over tenure eligibility as spelt out in the Justice RM Lodha Committee report.
The TNCA move also comes a day after many of these officials met in Bengaluru to discuss the implications of the Lodha report. There has been speculation that the ousted officials could try and disrupt the cricket season in wake of the SC ruling.
Kashi Viswanathan, who had to quit as TNCA secretary following the apex court order, told HT: “We have a lot of domestic matches to host. Due to the disruption caused by the cyclone, a lot of our grounds are facing issues and we haven’t been able to host matches. So we have expressed our inability.”
Cyclone Vardah hit Chennai on December 12 and caused widespread damage. However, TNCA staged the final Test against England, which started four days later.
Viswanathan said the TNCA had not committed to hosting the U-19 games. “We were asked by the BCCI, but we had never committed to it.”
The Supreme Court order ousted president, Anurag Thakur, secretary, Ajay Shirke as well as many other officials. As many as 21 units have pledged to implement the Lodha panel recommendations in full, as directed by the court.
Saturday’s meeting in Bengaluru was attended, among others, by N Srinivasan, former BCCI president who has had to step down as TNCA chief, Shirke, ousted Board treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary and joint secretary Amitabh Choudhary, and vice-president Rajeev Shukla.