Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) has received a lot of criticism for allotting Kochi an ODI between India and West Indies in November. It was just last year that the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was refurbished with a new turf to host the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium has been known for hosting both cricket and football, the stadium recently hosted home matches for ISL franchise Kerala Blasters, much to the admiration of the players and fans. Now, Kerala Blasters owner and legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has come out in public, opposing the idea of an ODI at the ground where he took both his ODI 5-wicket hauls.
Another Blasters key player C K Vineeth said the Jawaharlal Stadium in Kochi is one of six in India that are approved by FIFA, a certification that will take immense effort to obtain again.
Tendulkar, along with others, fear that the turf may be damaged in the process and lose out on being one of six FIFA-approved football grounds in India. Tendulkar found support from Sourav Ganguly, who co-owns ISL franchise Atletico de Kolkata.
— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) March 20, 2018
Former footballers IM Vijayan and CV Pappachan have also come out against the move. However, KCA vice-president Abdul Rahman maintains that Tendulkar’s views are personal, as he said, “The stadium has hosted cricket and football matches in the past. We had a meeting earlier with Greater Cochin Development Authority and told them about our decision to hold the cricket match here. Both sports can be played together.”
Former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor has expressed he has already spoken to Committee Of Administrators Chief Vinod Rai against the KCA’s ‘bizarre’ decision to transfer an ODI match from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi, whose ground was last used for the U-17 Football World Cup.