Between the third and fourth editions of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the number of teams kept changing between eight and 10, thanks to the addition of two teams and then the suspension of two others, which was challenged in the court.
It appears the IPL will endure similar times ahead of the fifth season, after the BCCI terminated the franchise contract with Kochi Cricket Pvt Ltd, the owners of Kochi Tuskers Kerala (KTK).
The termination, set to be challenged in the court on Monday by the KTK owners, has thrown up two questions: Will the BCCI invite fresh bids for a new franchise to replace KTK or will the IPL-V be a nine-team affair? More importantly, what happens to the 27 players who donned the KTK colours in their debut season?
Onus on IPL
N Srinivasan, in his first media interaction as the BCCI president, said it was up to the IPL governing council to firm up the details of the IPL-V.
"I think the IPL governing council, when they meet next, they will have to go into this," Srinivasan said. "But given the fact that the BCCI was even earlier slightly reluctant to expand this, I on my own cannot make a decision or a comment. As and when they meet, I am sure this issue will be one of the points they will address."
However, it was learnt that Rajeev Shukla, the new IPL chairman, and his new set of governing council members will have little difficulty since the BCCI will most likely stick to a nine-team round robin-cum-playoffs format. "Managing a 10-team tournament was anyway a tough task. Nine would be relatively easier, both in terms of organisation and format," a BCCI insider told HT.
And with regards to the 17 Indian and 10 overseas KTK players, the BCCI has promised to protect their interests. "The players' interests will be completely taken care of," Shukla said. "Neither will they lose out on money nor will they not feature in the IPL."
Though Shukla said the governing council will deliberate further on the matter when it is convened next month, a BCCI insider said: "Most probably, the players will move into the auction pool. Since the players are contracted for two years, if a player is bought for a lesser sum than his contracted fee, the BCCI will bear the difference."
That will be easier said than done as the BCCI had not planned an auction between the fourth and fifth IPL auctions. Moreover, the previous auctions never featured the uncapped players.