First there was the much-highlighted expansion of the Indian Premier League (IPL). And then there was its retrenchment. While the Rajasthan Royals and the Kings XI Punjab would have been disappointed with Sunday’s decision, it should come as a relief to the IPL broadcasters. Reason: with the playing field back to where it started with eight teams, there will be no change to the format, at least for the next season.
“With eight teams, there is no need to alter the tried and tested format,” a member of the IPL governing council told HT on Sunday. “There will be 60 matches with a round-robin phase followed by the four knock-out ties.”
The development has in a way undone a lot of work of the governing council in coming up with a new format of 74 matches for the next three seasons.
But the IPL bigwigs are still not sure about the date for the fresh player auction. “It depends on what happens to Kochi,” another governing council member said. “If they solve their problems and remain on board, the November auction will go ahead as planned. Otherwise, the auction will be postponed till January next year.”
The Kochi consortium, which has a lot of indifferences over stakes and operation of the franchisee, has been given 10 days to come up with a unanimous solution. If Kochi too is to be scrapped, the BCCI will “re-tender” the process to induct an eighth team.
Many, including the former IPL honcho Lalit Modi, believe Sunday’s developments have tarnished the brand of IPL and image of BCCI beyond repair (see box). However, the governing council had a completely contradictory view.
“In fact, we are on a cleaning-up mission of the mess created earlier,” a governing council member said. “We want the tournament to be run in the cleanest possible manner.”
“And this is a major step towards it,” he added.