Kolkata: The Indian Premier League (IPL), which has turned out to be the Indian cricket board’s biggest cash cow in recent years, will have two new teams from it’s 2022 edition - taking the number of teams to 10. This was one of the most significant decisions in the Annual General Meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which took place physically in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
After successfully tiding over the challenge of hosting the 13th edition of IPL in the UAE in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic, the top brass of the BCCI were keen on pressing ahead with the idea of having a larger IPL from next year itself. However, informed sources in the board said that with barely three months remaining for the next edition to roll on, the time will not be sufficient to complete the formalities like inviting tenders for the two new teams as well as go through a mega auction.
Interestingly enough, a 10-team IPL is not a new concept for the BCCI as it was Lalit Modi, the disgraced founder-chairman of the cash rich league had floated it for a season in 2010 with Kochi Tuskers and Sahara Pune Warriors being the two additional teams on that occasion. However, owners of both franchises were locked into disagreement over payment of their guarantee money to BCCI, which saw the latter ultimately trimming the field back to eight teams from 2012.
In another substle shift of stance, BCCI - which had in the past been averse to the inclusion of cricket as an Olympic discipline - have decided to back the push of International Cricket Council (ICC) to include cricket in it’s T20 format for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
The members of the AGM also discussed the contentious issue of securing tax exemption from India’s federal government with an eye on the two ICC events they are scheduled to host in a span of next thee years - the 2021 T20 World Cup and the 2023 50-over World Cup. The board’s inability to coax the government to grant the exemption for hosting the last T20 World Cup in 2016 in India is still a bone of contention between the BCCI and the world governing body.
“We are set to host the 2021 T20 World Cup as well as the 50-over World Cup in 2023. We need to speak to the government to see if we can get tax exemption and for this we have decided that our secretary Jay Shah and treasurer Arun Dhumal will speak to the government. If the government doesn’t agree, we will then decide on how to go about it. We also have the 2016 World T20 matter pending, so that will also have to be worked out,” a senior board functionary told ANI.
It has been decided that all first class players, both men and women, will be suitably compensated for the curtailed domestic season due to the pandemic. The BCCI has put in motion plans to get the domestic season underway with the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 championship from January 10, and the first class season is most likely to be limited to a white ball affair.
In other decisions, the AGM endorsed BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah to represent India at the ICC meetings. While Ganguly will continue as a director in the ICC Board, Shah will be the alternate director as well as India’s representative at the Chief Executive Committee meets of the global body.