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Kerala CM offers support to Kochi to host IPL

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government on Wednesday offered full support to the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) if the need arose to stage matches at Kochi for the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) that begins from April 3.

"The KCA had approached us that a probability could arise wherein Kochi could stage a few matches of the IPL. We have offered our full support, and complete security arrangements would be provided and other support systems also would be in place," said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting.

The KCA office bearers, led by its secretary T.C. Mathew, had on Tuesday approached Chandy after reports that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking that Sri Lankan players and officials be excluded from IPL matches to be staged in Chennai.

Jayalalithaa wrote the letter following increased political tension in the state over the treatment of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Mathew said that they are ready to host matches if there are any issues.

"We have already hosted IPL matches (fourth edition) in 2011 and we have no issues in organising it this time," said a confident Mathew.

The sixth edition of IPL has 10 matches in Chennai. Thirteen Sri Lanka players are included in various teams while Nuwan Kulasekara and Akila Dananjaya are members of the local franchisee - Chennai Super Kings.

The KCA is confident they can host the matches at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium at Kochi, which is the only one in the state of international standard and has already staged eight ODIs (one Day internationals) in the past 14 years. The last was held in January this year when the English team toured the country.

KCA also promised to host IPL matches if another venue, Bangalore, faced any difficulty in conducting matches.

"Assembly elections are going to be held in Karnataka in the first week of May and if they need our help to stage some of their home matches in view of security arrangements, we have told them that we are ready," said Mathew.