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What happens to the IPL?

Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals; both the franchises have star players whose presence go a long way in determining the fan following of the tournament © IANS
Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals; both the franchises have star players whose presence go a long way in determining the fan following of the tournament © IANS

The Supreme Court of India has proposed the dropping of Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings from this year’s edition of the Indian Premier League. Abhishek Mukherjee tries to explain what this may mean.

The verdict is not yet out, but the proposal from The Supreme Court of India is: they have asked Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) to be dropped from the Indian Premier League (IPL). The boardrooms of both franchises will have felt the reverberations of the shock by now, and are, in all likelihood, frantically looking for ways out.

The question that might haunt the fans is: What if the two teams are really dropped? That can lead to one of the following:

The IPL being disbanded

The probability of the entire tournament being scrapped for the season may not be an option, but with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President, N Srinivasan owing one of the franchises in question it may be feasible. There is a possibility that Srinivasan may want the tournament to sink along with CSK, which will lead to a significant loss of revenue for BCCI.

And it won’t be about the moolah either: the power BCCI holds over the rest of the world has a lot to do with the fact that the IPL remains the most coveted franchise-owned Twenty20 tournaments that take place throughout the world; the incident will turn out to be a lack of face, money, prestige, and power for BCCI in the world of cricket.

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The teams are dropped; the tournament goes on with the rest

Let us look into the squads first. CSK has the big guns like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Ravindra Jadeja, and Suresh Raina in their armoury; RR, never one for the big names, is nevertheless equipped with Shane Watson, James Faulkner, Brad Hodge, and Steve Smith — not to speak of the ones who have not shared the same “glamour” as the ones mentioned above.

All these men will suffer a significant loss of income, and more importantly, a sense of dejection: some of them had been the most consistent performers in the tournament; some (the sets are not mutually exclusive) have been the most highly priced; and now, all of a sudden, these men will be the ones left out as some of the not-so-sought-after ones will be playing instead.

Additionally, if the tournament is suddenly cut down to six teams, the number of league matches will come down from 56 to 30 (unless the teams play each other four times, which will mean that there will be 60 matches). The reduced number of matches will probably lead to the following a probable loss of revenue from on-air advertisements (an amount so huge that it would not compensated by hosting a 15-match ODI or T20I series with Sri Lanka — who have been as good as snubbed by the franchises during the auctions anyway). This will probably also rule out UAE as a host.

The teams are dropped; the cricketers from the two are re-auctioned

This seems to tackle one problem (though the number of matches continues to be a worry; and don’t rule that 15-ODI series out): the players will be taken care of. The problem lies elsewhere: when will the auction happen; and when will the tournament start?

The IPL is scheduled to begin on April 16 with the schedule of the first phase already been announced: what happens to that? Will there be a re-auction? If yes, when? What happens to the 27-player cap? Will the entire show of the auction be repeated?

What will be the way out?

One can only guess right now. However, whatever happens, is has to be one of the three above if both teams are dropped from the tournament; whichever be the case, a financial loss (and more) is inevitable for BCCI.

Perhaps a shift of power in world cricket is about to happen.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

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