The IPL semifinals were shifted from Bangalore to Mumbai on Sunday, following Saturday’s twin explosions outside the Chinnaswamy Stadium, and the subsequent discovery of at least three explosive devices that were defused by specialists.
The decision to move the matches out of Bangalore was taken keeping in mind “comfort levels of players” and despite assurances from Bangalore police that the semifinals could go on as scheduled.
“While reluctant to relocate the semifinals at such short notice, yesterday’s incidents have made it clear that the current environment in Bangalore prevents us from continuing with our original plans,” said Lalit Modi, IPL commissioner. “The incidents were assessed by local police and the IPL’s security agency as being of a minor nature but they have forced our hand.”
On Sunday senior officials of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) and IPL security advisor, Nicholls Steyn, met top police officials in a bid to assess the situation on the ground.
“We spoke to Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari and he assured us high security and told us that the semifinals can be held here,” said Brijesh Patel, secretary of the KSCA and also CEO of RCB. “Bidari said the police force would take charge of the venue and its surroundings two days in advance. He said the entire area would be sanitised and added that each and every person entering the premises would be frisked completely.”
The KSCA readily agreed to this proposal, but even as their meeting with the police ended, the BCCI had taken the decision to move the matches to the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, president of KSCA, spoke to Shashank Manohar, the BCCI chief, who explained that though there was no grouse with the KSCA or the security arrangements, the decision to move the matches had been taken keeping in mind the circumstances.
While expressing his disappointment at the matches being shifted out and assuring spectators that their ticket costs would be refunded, Patel added, “Maybe the bomb they defused near Gate No. 1 on Sunday morning made it worse for us. The players also may have expressed their concerns.”
Karnataka Chief Minister, BS Yeddyurappa, said there was no reason to shift the matches out of Bangalore. “It is a hasty decision on the part of BCCI,” he said. “I suggest these matches are held in Bangalore itself.”