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IPL teams could be allowed to retain three players

Steven Smith and MS Dhoni have a chat in the field AFP

The eight IPL franchises are likely to be allowed to retain up to three players each before the player auction in the 2018 pre-season. Such a proposal was discussed by the IPL governing council in Delhi on Tuesday. The governing council will meet again next week to deliberate on the issue before making a final decision on November 14 at a workshop with all eight franchises.

Although a final decision remains to be made, a BCCI official suggested that the three players could be a combination of two Indians and one overseas player, or two overseas players and one Indian. ESPNcricinfo understands that not all franchises have been keen on retaining players, but Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, the two teams that are returning to the IPL after serving a two-year suspension, were "keen" to retain a certain number of players.

If the IPL allows the retention of a certain number of players, both these franchises would be able to pick their choices from the two teams that replaced them in the last two editions of the IPL: Rising Pune Supergiant and Gujarat Lions.

MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Ben Stokes, Steven Smith, Brendon McCullum and Faf du Plessis are some of the prominent names that featured for Supergiant and Lions in the last two years.

It is understood that the IPL chief operating officer Hemang Amin met with representatives of the eight franchises in the last few months to gather suggestions before a final plan is laid out at the franchise workshop next month.

It is not just the number of players that should be retained that the franchises have different opinions about - they are also concerned by the purse that will be made available to them.

Some of the richer franchises are keen to have a maximum purse of INR 80 crore as opposed to some franchises which are happy with INR 75 crore. The IPL governing council is likely to take a final call at its next meeting.

One franchise official pointed out that the richer teams might want a bigger purse in order to spend big money to retain marquee players. The official suggested the IPL should consider a smaller purse as well as sticking to the retention policy it had used in the past. In 2014, when the retention policy was introduced for the first time by the IPL, every franchise was allowed to retain a maximum of five capped players. Back then every franchise had a salary cap of INR 60 crore, out of which a fixed amount would be deducted for every player retained. The break-up of the deduction was: Player 1 - INR 12.5 crore, Player 2 - 9.5 cr, Player 3 - 7.5 cr, Player 4 - 5.5 cr and Player 5 - 4 cr.

Simultaneously the franchises could buy back additional players through the right-to-match-card option in the 2014 auction. On Tuesday, the IPL governing council discussed the right-to-match-card option, but there was no clarity on the issue. The right-to-match card essentially gives a franchise the first right of refusal to its players, allowing it to buy its player back after other franchises have completed the bidding process for him.

In 2014 the number of right-to-match cards available to each franchise was dependent on the number of players already retained. A franchise retaining between three and five players had one right-to-match card, while a franchise retaining up to two players had two right-to-match cards; those not retaining any player had three cards to play.