• Several Chennai Super Kings stars, including Harbhajan and Suresh Raina have reacted to Chepauk losing its home matches this season.
  • CSK will play their remaining home matches in Pune. 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) decision to shift Indian Premier League (IPL) matches out of Chennai has left Chennai Super Kings' off-spinner Harbhajan Singh heartbroken.

The 37-year-old, who was bought by CSK from Mumbai Indians at January's auction, wants matches to return to the capital city of the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu soon.

"Heart breaking news..no more ipl games in chennai.. fans have waited two years for CSK to play in front of them at home..hope all the issues get solved soon and matches comes back to chennai soon...Thank u for your love,wishes,prayers would be needed all the time..(sic)," Singh wrote on Twitter after the decision was made official Wednesday, April 11.

IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla confirmed Wednesday, April 11 that CSK will be playing their home matches at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. Notably, now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant, which was led by MS Dhoni in IPL 2016, played their home matches at the said venue in 2016 and 2017.

Visakhapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram, and Rajkot were considered by CSK after the BCCI had listed them as stand-by venues.

Suresh Raina, Stephen Fleming echo Harbhajan's thoughts as CSK stars left disappointed over venue change

Harbhajan Singh
File photo of India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.MAL FAIRCLOUGH/AFP/Getty Images

Celebrated CSK batsman Suresh Raina, along with coach Stephen Fleming and new-recruit Sam Billings, also expressed their disappointment over Chepauk's loss. Notably, Billings came up with a match-winning performance against Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday to help the two-time champions complete their homecoming in style.

The BCCI was forced to reschedule CSK's home games after the Tamil Nadu administration expressed inability to provide adequate security for the players and fans amid increasing protests over Cauvery water-sharing dispute in the state.

Massive anti-IPL protests by pro-Tamil groups had erupted outside the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday, ahead of CSK's first home game of the season against Kolkata Knight Riders.

Protesters had reportedly beaten up cricket fans in the lead-up to the highly-anticipated home game in Chepauk, which was hosting its first CSK match in two years. They also staged road blockade at busy roads in the vicinity of MA Chidambaram Stadium.

Tensions reached a high-point when shoes were flung at CSK players inside the MA Chidambaram Stadium. The protesters, who managed to escape the unprecedented security checks, unruffled Naam Tamilar Katchi flags and shouted slogans against the IPL.

Four protesters were detained, according to The Hindu.

Chennai Super Kings
Four protesters were detained by police during Chennai Super Kings' home game against Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday.ARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images
Chennai Super Kings
A few protesters reportedly attacked Chennai Super Kings' fans and tore their match tickets.ARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images

Several political figures, filmmakers and celebrities had voiced their concerns over BCCI hosting matches in Chennai. They had cited the protests against the Center for the delay in setting up of Cauvery Management Board (CMB).

The Supreme Court of India, in its February 16 order, had directed the Center to institute the CMB within three weeks. However, it has sought three month's time to do so, citing the upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka. Notably, the two neighboring states in South India have been at loggerheads for more than a decade over the river-sharing issue.