Euro 2020 Special

Thiruvananthapuram T20I between India and South Africa to go Ahead Despite Electricity Dispute


The first T20I between India and South Africa planned for September 28th will go ahead as scheduled in Thiruvananthapuram. That is despite a dispute with suppliers of power to the Greenfield Stadium, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) over unpaid bills. That led the KSEB to cut off power supply to the stadium, but it has been confirmed that there is no threat to the match itself, even if generators have to be brought in.


The origin of the dispute

KSEB decided to take the drastic action to cut the power because of unpaid bills will are reported to be as high as RS 2.5 crore (US $400,000). The Stadium is owned by the Kerala Sports Facility (KSFL) who were the defaulting party, although the Kerala Cricket Association, who effectively rent it, also have some responsibility in the matter.

From the perspective of the stadium operators, they have argued that the action is unfair, because most of the power has been consumed by the adjoining theatre and auditorium, and why should they be paying for what they have used?


Use of generators

If need be, standby generators will be used to power the floodlights and the facilities within the stadium on the day of the match, and have already been used during maintenance work carried out in the past few days.



The dispute is close to being resolved anyway, with the KCA promising to pay the outstanding bill in its entirety as soon as they can after the conclusion of the match itself.

They have already made a token payment to KSEB and have provided a written agreement regarding their intent to settle the balance. The Kerala government will provide some help with settling the bill, whilst the rest will come from the grant they get from the BCCI, and also their hosting fee for the first T20I.


Lack of revenue an issue

One of the underlying problems is that the KCA is continually struggling for revenue. There is no IPL team based in Kerala, the only southern state not to have one.

The Kochi Tuskers Kerala did play for one season in 2011, before they were expelled and subsequently dissolved for financial reasons, following a dispute among the team owners.

Following legal action, the BCCI were forced to pay considerable compensation to the former owners after it was judged that they had illegally terminated their membership of the IPL.

The state has been mooted as the location of a potential IPL franchise in the future, but they are likely to face competition the next time the league expands.

The last international match at the Greenfield Stadium was back in 2019, when India hosted the West Indies, and since then, with other venues getting preference, combined with the Covid pandemic, Kerala did not get to host a match.

In truth, there are too many grounds to go round when it comes to staging India matches, especially given that major cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, and Kolkata also take their regular turns.

It may be several years before Thiruvananthapuram is chosen again, and the current dispute will do them no favours when it comes to more regular inclusion on the fixture list.

Meanwhile, the KCA is working on building its own stadium in Kochi, which once complete, will have a capacity of 50,000 spectators.


The South African tour

The match on 28th September will be the first of South Africa’s white ball tour of India. It will be followed by the second T20I which is being staged on 2nd October in Guwahati, and the third to days later in Indore.

South Africa will be captained by a fit again Temba Bavuma.

Meanwhile, for India, it will be one of the last chances to fine tune selection issues ahead of the World Cup itself.

And then the tour switches gears and reverts to the ODI format, with three matches to be played in Lucknow, Ranchi and Delhi respectively between 6th and 11th October.

In reality, both teams are likely to feature different personnel completely from those playing in the T20I series. This close to the World Cup, nobody wants to risk injury to key players that could see them potentially miss the tournament.


World Cup opponents

India and South Africa already know that they have been drawn together, along with Pakistan and Bangladesh, in Group 2 in the Super 12 stage of the World Cup next month. They will be joined by two yet to be determined opponents from the initial group qualifying competition.




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