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Kochi stadium geared up to host 5 IPL matches

Kochi: Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) on Saturday said all preparations for the first Indian Premier League encounter between Kochi IPL, making its debut this season, and Royal challengers, Bangalore, was almost complete and it was fully geared up to host the 5 matches of the home team here from Apr 9.

“We are even prepared to host the two matches now allotted to Indore and we have written a letter in this regard to the BCCI,” KCA Secretary, T C Mathew, told reporters here.

On Monday last the KCA officials had met the franchisees over a four hour meeting. All their apprehensions have been cleared, Mathew said. They now want all the seven matches to be held at Kochi.

The franchise, which earlier was keen to shift the venue away from kochi, was yet to sign the tripartite agreement between the KCA-BCCI-Franchise. “They have not yet signed the agreement. But we are expecting them to sign it soon,” he said.

The IPL governing council had dismissed the plea of the franchisees to shift the matches from Kochi, he said. Following reports in a section of the media that the
Jawaharlal Nehru stadium at nearby Kaloor will not be ready for the matches, the pitch in the stadium will not survive so many IPL matches and the facilities were inadequate, the franchisees were apprehensive and wanted the matches to be
shifted to another location. The lack of adequate number of sponsors for the matches was also an issue worrying the franchisees.

“We are confident that the matches will be held at Kochi. All facilities are almost ready. The countdown has begun,” Mathew said.

The BCCI`s Pitches and Grounds committee chairman, Venkata Sundaram, who inspected the ground and the facilities, had opined that the pitch and outfield were `excellent`.

Malaysia`s Trans Asia International, was given the task of preparing the ground and put in a good drainage system. “We needed drainage at subsoil. Specially perforated imported double wall HPP pipes were used,” a company official
said. Six imported equipments were used to prepare the ground. This is the first time in the country a stadium ground in India was making use of the equipments.

Fertilisers imported from US were used, about 29,400 cubic feet of sand was made use of for the drainage system which will ensure that even it rains, within half an hour the matches can be played. Organic bio stimulants were used to rejuvenate the grass and soil structure in the ground.

The KCA was confident that the Oct 17 washout of the India-Australia one dayer due to heavy rains and water logging of the stadium was a thing of the past.

Floodlights have been put up, rooms for anti doping, cheer leaders, a gymnasium, modern medical facilities and additional toilets on the top tier of the stadium, a corporate cubicle, are among the facilties that have been provided.

On the issue over enterainment tax concessions for IPL matches, he said the issue is likely to be settled amicably soon. Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany`s response has been `positive`. The corporation would lose lot of revenue if the matches are not held here.

Mathew said the franchisees have not received many sponsors which could have been the reason for their wanting to shift the venue of the Kochi matches elsewhere earlier, he said.

The new name of the Kochi IPL team, which will begin its preparatory camp from March 26, will also be announced soon.

The franchisees are expected to be in Kochi on Mar 14, and BCCI`s security head R K Das, will also be visiting the stadium next week.

The KCA has taken the stadium of the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) on a five year lease. The KCA will also initiate legal action seeking Rs one
crore in damages against a malayalam magazine which had published reports to humilate KCA and its secretary, Association president, T R Balakrishnan said.

PTI

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