Mumbai: Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Rajiv Shukla on Tuesday confirmed that the cricket matches scheduled to be played in the different cities of Maharashtra will be played as scheduled.

The secretary of the Mumbai unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Vivekananda Gupta had earlier appealed to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Shashank Manohar that the upcoming IPL matches be shifted out of Maharashtra owing to the acute water scarcity and because of the severe drought that has impacted the lives of farmers in the state.

“There is no proposal to shift the matches,” Shukla said at a press conference here. When prodded further, he asserted, “Matches will go on as scheduled.”

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The IPL begins on April 9 and ends on May 29.

“As far as the question of drought, water is concerned, we are with the farmers of Maharashtra, we are ready to help in all possible way,” Shukla said.

“If the Maharashtra government brings a proposal (in this regard), then the BCCI president, all of us will think in what way we can help the farmers. And I am, through my MPLAD fund, going to personally adopt some villages. There is water-crisis in Marathwada, that will be solved,” he added.

“I don’t think any purpose will be served because of stopping the game. The game may be held at its own place as only a small amount of water is required, but farmers need a lot of water. But to solve the water crisis, all political parties need to unite and help, whatever help we can do from BCCI, we are ready to do that,” Shukla said.

Shukla also said “one big change” the organisers are effecting in the upcoming IPL is that spectators’ opinion will also be sought on the decision which is referred to the third umpire.

“Before that, they will be given a board or a play card, whatever they say out or not out, that will be caught by the camera and shown on the board. But after that the decision of the third umpire will be final,” he added.

Shukla said this will help in involvement of the fans.

“There will be no hurry in this, this opinion does not matter to the third umpire, he will go as per whatever he sees on the screen,” Shulka concluded.

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