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BCCI explores options to retain eight-team IPL

ChennaiStung by the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals from the IPL, the BCCI’s top officials are now working out a contingency plan to ensure that the high-profile league remains an eight-team affair.

The officials have already started informal discussion on the way forward before the IPL Governing Council meets for an emergency session in Mumbai on Sunday.

IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla is scheduled to meet BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya late this evening and tomorrow morning in Kolkata to discuss the implications of the Supreme Court-appointed Justice R M Lodha committee verdict.

The BCCI is keen to ensure that the cash-rich league remains an eight-team tournament as its contract with the broadcasters — Multi Screen Media — envisages a 60-match schedule.

“We have started discussions on the way forward. We have studied the Justice Lodha committee report, the Governing Council will discuss all aspects of this verdict and decide the future course of action,” a top BCCI official said.

The official said that the Board could possibly explore two options to ensure that the IPL remains an eight-team event.

“The BCCI can run the two teams for two years and the original owners can come back after the ban period is over.

The other option is to invite fresh bids for two new teams since many corporates have expressed an interest in buying an IPL team,” he said.

The problem that BCCI might face if it invites bids for two new teams is that it could increase the number of teams to 10 after CSK and RR complete their ban period. Drawing up a home and away basis schedule for 10 teams could drag the league well beyond its stipulated window of about six weeks.

There are few members of the BCCI who are keen to invite fresh bids since it will generate more money for the league.

BCCI running two teams may not be economically viable since the entire cost of managing the team and playing the players their salaries will have to be borne by the Board.

In case the BCCI invites bids for two new teams, all the players of CSK and RR will go back to the auction pool. Star players like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Steve Smith, James Faulkner, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, Mike Hussey and Ashish Nehra will then be up for grabs again.

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