Four new venues announced for IPL's third season
Four new venues have been introduced for the third edition of the IPL, which will run from March 12 to April 25 next year. The 60-game tournament will feature a third-place playoff between the losing semi-finalists as a qualifier for the Champions League and could also see the induction of ICL players. The IPL governing council, which met in Mumbai on Tuesday, has also decided to include two new teams from the fourth edition in 2011.
Visakhapatnam, Ahmedabad and Dharamsala are the new venues, hosting some games of the Deccan Chargers, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, respectively. Hyderabad will stage the opening fixture between defending champions Deccan Chargers and Kolkata Knight Riders, while both semi-finals will be held in Bangalore. The venue of the final hasn't been fixed but the season will end five days before the World Twenty20 opens in West Indies.
Today's decisions brought good news for the former ICL players, though their participation is subject to the BCCI's formal approval. They will now join the gravy train, though their payout could be considerably less than many of their peers. They will be valued in two categories; Indian domestic players will be paid Rs 8-20 lakh ($18,000-45,000) while foreign players will be made available through auction, depending on their demand.
The IPL will also make use of the services of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) for the third season. The BCCI had agreed to draft in ACSU for the upcoming Champions League in October as well, at the ICC board's annual conference in London last month.
Another development for the new season was the reduction in the 'strategic timeout' from seven-and-a-half minutes to five. The timeout - which will be mandatory for both sides - will be split into two breaks of equal length with the bowling team opting for it between overs 6-10, and the batting team allowed to choose between overs 11-16.
At his press conference following the meeting, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi also outlined plans for Season 4 onwards. Two franchises will be added to the league, through an auction to be held next January, and the tournament will expand from 60 games to 94. The player auction for the fourth season, with a new salary cap, will be held in the summer of 2010 to allow squads to integrate. The 'icon player' concept will be done away with but there will be no change in the number of international players - ten in the squad and four on the field.
The second season was held in South Africa in April-May this year after the Indian government declined to provide security because the tournament overlapped with general elections in the country.