While announcing the media rights holders for the forthcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), the league's commissioner Lalit Modi had said that the player auction would be held "around February 7". Though the player auction has been postponed by 10 days or so now, Modi and his colleagues on the IPL governing body will meet with owners of all the eight franchises in Mumbai on Friday.
Though BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said on Wednesday that the meeting was a "routine" affair, sources said the meeting has been organised primarily to clear the doubts of the players.
"Some of the franchises wanted to know how many international players would be available," a source said. "Also, they needed more time to study the nitty-gritty of the contract, so they asked for more time before the player auction."
Meanwhile, Shah reiterated that there was no way players from those countries who are scheduled to play international cricket during April-May, when the IPL is scheduled, would be considered for the six-week Twenty20 event. "The ICC's future tours programme is fixed till 2011 and there is no way it will change because of the IPL," he said.
While bigwigs like Mukesh Ambani, Vijay Mallya, Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta will meet BCCI office-bearers on Friday, Thursday will see BCCI officials meeting the representatives of the eight state associations that will stage the IPL matches. "Each host association will see matches being staged at only one stadium," Shah said.
This has put an end to speculation that the Mumbai Cricket Association is likely to stage the Mumbai team's matches at both the Brabourne Stadium and the newly built Dr DY Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai. Shah added that the state association representatives would be briefed about "media and in-stadia rights in detail".
Meanwhile, Adam Gilchrist sounded optimistic on Wednesday about being cleared to play the IPL by Cricket Australia (CA). We'll know more very soon, because Gilchrist's agent, Steve Atkinson, will arrive in Mumbai on Thursday to sort things out.
When asked about Atkinson's visit, Shah said he would be "coming to meet the franchisees."
It would be interesting to see if Atkinson, who will be accompanied by Brett Lee's agent Neil Maxwell, has discussions directly with one or more franchisees since the players will be contracted to the BCCI and then sold to franchisees.