`Kochi will be long term venue`

Kochi: In a big boost to Kochi`s IPL dreams, the co-owners of the Kochi Tuskers Kerala, (KTK), which is debuting in the current Indian Premier League season, said `Kochi will be long term venue` for all their matches.

KTK will be playing its inaugural match against Royal Challengers Bangalore here on Apr 9. Totally five matches have been allotted to Kochi.

Expressing complete satisfaction with the arrangements at the Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium, Dhaval Shah, one of the owners of the Kochi team, who visited the stadium, told reporters that `this will not be one season affair. Kochi is a long term venue`, he said.

Two other co-owners owners Vivek Venugopal and Ranji Patel, were also present.

`We are here for good. We will have all our matches here every year`, he said.

The team owners have written to the BCCI to shift the two matches now scheduled at Indore to Kochi. `We are yet to get a reply from the BCCI, he said.

The owners said they had earlier written to the IPL governing council to shift the venue from Kochi as they were uncertainties about getting Kochi as a permanent venue. But now the problem has been solved as the Kerala Cricket association (KCA) has got the stadium leased from the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) for five years.

Vivek Venugopal said they have requested the Kochi corporation to give a 100 per cent waiver of entertainment tax. The corporation has agreed for 50 per cent waiver as of now, he said.

The owners also expressed satisfaction at the efforts taken by the Kerala cricket Association (KCA) to get the stadium ready.

The practise session of the Kochi team will start from Mar 26. The players who are participating in the World Cup would take part in the practise sessions. Team coach Geoff Lawson, is expected to reach by this weekend, KCA sources said.