Kolkata Knight Riders may play IPL matches in Gujarat

With their revenue-sharing dispute with Cricket Association of Bengal refusing to end, the Shah Rukh Khan-owned Indian Premier League team Kolkata Knight Riders has decided to shift few of its matches to Gujarat.

Incidentally, the co-owner of the Kolkata franchise Jay Mehta, who hails from Gujarat, on Friday held a three-hour marathon meeting with CAB supremo Jagmohan Dalmiya and other Knigh Riders officials.

But the CAB maintained that it was a routine affair. Asked about the shifting of matches to Gujarat, Dalmiya declined it.

“I have no knowledge about it (about shifting of matches),” he said.

But the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) president Narahari Amin on Saturday said they are expecting to host at least two-three matches at their Motera stadium.

“The Kolkata Knight Riders has a deep Gujarat connection … Apart from Mehta, who has personal relations with our executive committee member Nishit Vyas, we have two players — off-spinner Mohnish Parmar and medium-pacer Ishwar Chaudhary — in the KKR ranks.

“We are hopeful of getting two-three matches here and it will generate huge interest. In fact, we have been approached by the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) and they are very soon going to inspect the venue to shift few matches to here,” Amin said.

“Our stadium is completely refurbished and has 65 AC cabins, which no association has. In the last series we hosted (India vs South Africa Test) we generated a huge revenue of Rs 1 crore and 70 lakh… We have a 52,000 capacity and I am sure, it will be a hit here,” he added.

The CAB has already conceded that few KKR matches are going to shift to Barabati Stadium in Orissa.

More than the Gujarat connection to IPL, the huge success of the Indian Cricket League matches at a smaller venue of Sardar Patel Stadium was something that prompted Mehta to make the change, a source claimed.

“Moreover, the KKR avoid the ongoing tussle over payment issue with the past CAB administration (Prasun Mukherjee)… They are pretty much concerned about it so they plan to shift few matches to Gujarat and Orissa,” added the source.

The present CAB administration is still in dark over the expenses incurred during the April 20-May 25 carnival last year. Eden Gardens hosted seven matches of the inaugural IPL Twenty20 meet.

To sort this out Dalmiya and Co. have formed a three-member special committee which comprises legal experts.

Each of the eight hosting state associations of the IPL meet was instructed to limit their expenditure to Rs 3.5 crore, with the spent amount of money recoverable from the respective franchisees.

However, the Mukherjee-led administration spent Rs 7.26 crore, reasoning that Eden was a larger venue. Shah Rukh’s Red Chillies Entertainment apparently has refused to reimburse Rs 7.26 crore, putting the new administration led by Dalmiya in soup.

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