India-Australia opening T20I shifted from Bangalore to Vizag due to security concerns

File image of India skipper Virat Kohli (right) and Australia T20I skipper Aaron Finch

The opening T20I between India and Australia in the upcoming five-match series will no longer be held in Bangalore. As per latest developments, Visakhapatnam will host the opening T20I on February 24 and Bangalore will host the second T20I on February 27. The move was orchestrated by the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) as the Police Commissioner in the city will be unable to guarantee the required security support because of the Aero India Show — a major international event — and the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the same day.

In letters between the KSCA and the Andhra Cricket Association (ACA), accessed by Hindustan Times, the two associations have decided to swap the T20I matches with due permission from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

“Kindly refer to our telecon a few minutes back. As you are aware, we are to host the First T-20 match between India and Australia this year, in India, scheduled on Sunday, 24th February, 2019 at M Chinnaswamy Stadium. However, as I mentioned to you there has been an adverse development that the Police Commissioner in Bangalore is unable to guarantee the required security support, police bandobast etc.

“In view of the above, we would request you to kindly consider swapping our T-20 match with yours i.e. you would host the First T-20 match on Sunday, 24th February, 2019 in Vizag and we would host the Second T-20 match on Wednesday, 27th February, 2019 in Bangalore. I would urge you to consider our request urgently and we would be grateful if you can kindly confirm this swapping of T-20 matches to us and more importantly to the Office Bearers,” the mail from Sanjay M. Desai, president of KSCA, to ACA general secretary Arun Kumar read.

Replying to the above mail, BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary wrote to the Committee of Administrators: “The forwarded email is self explanatory. The reasons assigned for acceding to the request are in order. An email formally accepting the request may kindly be sent to all concerned at the earliest. The two associations may accordingly prepare.”

The approval was then sent in by CoA co-member Diana Edulji.

Australia will play two T20Is and five ODIs on their tour of India as both teams gear up for the 2019 World Cup in England.

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