Chennai Super Kings and TNCA officials are confident of the side’s first home game in nearly three years going ahead uninterrupted and on time despite calls for political protests around the match. Arrests were made outside MA Chidambram stadium on Tuesday morning to prevent any interruptions.
“The match will go on as planned. We do not expect any disruptions and all security measures are in place. We will ensure the match will go on as per schedule,” a CSK official told ESPNcricinfo.
Several local political parties and fringe groups have called for a boycott of the IPL matches in Chennai till the Cauvery water dispute between Tamil Nadu and neighbouring state Karnataka is resolved. Immensely popular actor Rajinikant, who has recently joined politics, has requested Super Kings players and fans to wear black armbands to show solidarity with the protests calling for the quick formation of a board to settle the water dispute.
Many other Tamil film personalities, including another popular actor Kamal Haasan, have joined Rajinikant in the protest.
According to a report in the The Hindu, 10 members of a political party were arrested for attempting to enter the MA Chidambaram Stadium with black flags on Tuesday morning. The Chennai Police has taken them into custody, and have beefed up the security around the ground.
Reportedly, on Monday, a group led by Thamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi chief released black balloons near the stadium and even threatened to picket the ground on the day of the match.
In what should be a positive sign for those planning to attend the match, a TNCA official confirmed that mobile phones will be allowed inside the ground a day after the association had announced a phone ban on match day.
During Super Kings’ practice session on Monday evening, there was a political protest opposite the Pattabiraman Gate in Wallajah Road, but that space is usually designated for protests in Chennai, much like Jantar Mantar in Delhi or Azad Maidan in Mumbai. Media crew were not allowed to enter the ground through the Pattabiraman gate on the eve of the match, but CSK officials said that the match will go on as per schedule.