The BCCI is apparently holding talks with different stakeholders regarding the possibility of approving and introducing two new IPL franchises to the 2021 division. The BCCI is scheduled to hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the 24th of December and confirm whether one or two IPL teams will be approved for the next edition.
The BCCI has not made any official announcement in this regard. However, there are two reports being circulated over the introduction of two new IPL teams. The first rumour is that the BCCI will discuss and make the decision during the next AGM. The second rumour is that the AGM is a mere formality as the decision has already been made and signed by BCCI secretary Jay Shah.
Which Teams Are In The Running?
The IPL usually takes place with 8 franchises in the mix but the next season could feature 10. If this turns out to be the case, it will not be a new look for the IPL as the IPL Governing Body has experimented with a 10 franchise format in 2011.
The BCCI and IPL Governing Body brought the Pune Warriors and Kochi Tuskers Kerala into the mix but the experiment was not a success.
Kochi dropped out in 2012 and Pune left in 2013. When the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) were banned over match fixing concerns in 2016 for two years, the BCCI approved the Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiants to take their place. However, both franchises were ruled out once CSK and RR returned.
The BCCI will want to be very careful as to which two new IPL franchises get approval for 2021. They don’t want to have another failure like they did with Kerala and Pune. As of now, there are a number of potential IPL franchises who have expressed interest.
There are a total of 5 cities across India who have thrown their hats into the ring. Pune is once again interested in putting forward an IPL franchise along with Ahmedabad, Vizag, Lucknow and Kanpur. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Ahmedabad and Vizag are the front runners to get approval.
The Adani Group will look to push forward with the Ahmedabad franchise. Vizag was on the shortlist of the BCCI in 2010 when it was looking to approve a new IPL franchise.
Vizag has a fantastic cricket ground and has hosted IPL matches in the fast. Cricket fans in the coastal city of Vizag will be hoping that the BCCI pushes the Vizag IPL franchise through for 2021.
IPL 2021 Could Have Two Groups
Should the BCCI go ahead and add two new IPL franchises for the next edition, the IPL format will have to change. Teams currently play each other twice during the group stages. If two new IPL franchises are added, the BCCI will most likely split the teams in to two groups.
The BCCI used this format in 2011 when they were 10 teams in the leagues. Each group will have five teams each and each group will be determined usually by picking the teams out by random.
Each team will play the other four teams in their group twice (home and away). They will play four teams in the other group once and one team twice – making it a total of 14 matches. The top two teams in each group will move into the playoffs. This will ensure that the overall length of the IPL tournament will not be extended significantly.
The BCCI will need to work out a deal with broadcaster Star as there is a contract clause which states that the host broadcaster will have to pay the BCCI a lot more money if new IPL franchises and more games are added to the IPL. More details to follow after December 24.