The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association has declined to host the two Under-19 Test matches between India and England, scheduled to be played in Chennai in February. The state association sent a brief note stating "domestic programs" as the reason, to the BCCI CEO Rahul Johri informing them of the decision, on January 7.
The two four-day matches, scheduled from February 13-16 and February 21-24, are part of the seven-match tour which also includes five ODIs in Mumbai before the Tests. "At the outset we thank you for allotting the India - England Under 19 matches at Chennai between 13th and 16th February and 21st to 24th February 2017. However, we regret to inform you that we are unable to host the matches at Chennai due to various domestic programs scheduled during the period," the TNCA letter said, as quoted by The Hindu.
The note was sent on a TNCA letterhead that listed several office bearers of the state association including N Srinivasan as the president and Kasi Viswanathan as secretary. It is understood that RA Palani, the joint-secretary and interim caretaker of the TNCA, signed the letter.
Both Srinivasan and Viswanathan were disqualified as office bearers by the Supreme Court order of January 2, which stated an administrator could not continue in office if he had completed a cumulative period of nine years at either the state level or the BCCI. Both Srinivasan and Viswanathan have been at TNCA for more than a decade each as office bearers.
Palani told The Hindu: "It was my decision and I take the responsibility for it. We have a heavy backlog of matches because of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) and the Vardah cyclone."
"We have to conduct the TNCA first division matches, lower division games and inter-university matches. We need grounds to hold our own matches. At a time like this, it will be extremely hard for us to take the responsibility for two under-19 Tests."
It is understood that the Lodha Committee was displeased after having received a copy of the TNCA letter. The committee felt the former office bearers could be charged with contempt of court order. When asked about the letter, Viswanathan said he was no more with TNCA.
Ever since the January 2 judgement, there have been murmurs of disgruntled office bearers trying to find ways to counter the court order. On Saturday, a host of prominent former office bearers including Srinivasan, Anurag Thakur, Ajay Shirke, Rajiv Shukla and Niranjan Shah met in Bangalore to discuss their next step in an informal meeting. The meeting was organised by Srinivasan and attended by 24 state associations. Although one of the officials present at the meeting indicated cricket would not be affected, the TNCA letter could be the first step towards a possible rebellion.
Courtesy: ESPNCricinfo & The Hindu