The Indian Premier League (IPL) ran into choppy waters yet again on Wednesday when Andhra Pradesh sports minister, K Venkat Reddy, asked local franchise Deccan Chargers to boycott the third edition of the T20 tournament starting March 12. Miffed at the decision to shift the first match out of Hyderabad, Reddy said: “There are crores of cricket fans in Hyderabad. We have a world-class stadium (Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium). They (IPL) have insulted Andhra Pradesh by shifting the inaugural match. The government has asked the Deccan Chargers to boycott the IPL.”
“They are a private team but whatever it is, a request or order, they should not play in the IPL. We request the IPL to change (the shifting of the opener). The chief minister is speaking to Sharad Pawar,” he added.
To ensure the tournament got off to a smooth start in the wake of the Telangana crisis, the IPL had shifted the tournament opener between Deccan Chargers and the Kolkata Knight Riders from Hyderabad to Mumbai.
Reddy said the state had taken necessary steps to quell any security concerns. “Their decision might have been due to the ongoing political agitation in the state. I would like to bring to your notice that the Telangana Joint Action Committee, spearheading the Telangana agitation, had extended full cooperation for the conduct of the matches in Hyderabad,” Reddy wrote in a letter to Pawar.