For the second time since it's inception in 2008, BCCI is considering the expansion of IPL by increasing the number of teams to ten.
Way back in 2011, two new teams were added to the cash-rich league as Kochi and Pune got IPL teams. However, both the teams, due to various reasons, got defunct and IPL went back to being an 8-team tournament in 2014. While Kochi Tuskers Kerala were terminated for breaching its terms of agreement in 2011, Pune Warriors India withdrew from the IPL over financial differences with the BCCI in 2013.
The IPL governing council is once again mulling expanding the league by adding two more teams. "The plan is ready. Expansion is a certainty. What needs to be worked out is the tender process and how to go about it. Expect things to fall in place soon, certainly before the next IPL edition,” sources close to the development told TOI.
The news of two more IPL teams has got the fans all excited and are already making speculations about the two cities that might get IPL teams.
Several cities are in fray of getting an IPL team, however, according to a report in TOI, these are four cities that are front-runners in this race.
If reports are to be believed, a consortium of businessmen is interested in buying an IPL team from Kanpur or Lucknow. This consortium also enjoys the strong support of a former BCCI administrator. While Lucknow has hosted a solitary T20 international, Kanpur has regularly hosted international and IPL games. Kanpur's Green Park stadium has also started hosting day-night games after 2016. Also, the state has produced some great cricketers. Talking about the current lot, seasoned IPL campaigners like Suresh Raina, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Piyush Chawla are from UP.
Pune has previously been associated with the IPL with two different franchises. While BCCI ended Pune's first stint by dissolving Sahara Pune Warriors in 2013, the city's second stint with the IPL was pretty good. Rising Pune Supergiant reached the finals of the 2017 season. However, it was a stop-gap arrangement as the contract was only for two years. But the team owners, the Sanjay Goenka-led RPG group had expressed the desire to be part of the IPL again and might bid for a Pune based IPL team once again. Pune already has a Kabaddi and Football team and is known for its rich sports culture.
Gujarat got its first IPL team in 2016 when the Rajkot based Gujarat Lions came into existence. Ahmedabad's Motera stadium, that was under reconstruction at that time, is now ready and the well-known Adani group might bid for its own IPL team. The Adani group had previously bid unsuccessfully for an IPL team in 2010. The Motera stadium, that now has the capacity of one-lakh, will be an ideal home for an IPL franchise. With the rise of Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and the Pandya brothers, cricket is more popular than it was ever before in the state.
It was MS Dhoni who got Ranchi on the cricket map. With a rise in Dhoni's stature, cricket in Ranchi also grew. Apart from hosting one Test, two ODIs and two T20s, quite a few IPL games have been played at Ranchi.
And now cometh IPL 2020, Ranchi might have its own IPL team. The Tatas are believed to be keen on having an IPL team from Jharkhand. With Jamshedpur having hosted an ODI last in 2006, Ranchi might be their preferred choice. The crowd has come in huge numbers when any international or IPL match is being played in the city. But the question is, will Ranchi ever see it's local hero playing for the team? Only time will tell.Published 20 Jul 2019, 21:19 IST