The BCCI has formed a working group to study the Lodha panel's verdict relating to the IPL 2013 corruption scandal and instructed it to present its findings in six weeks. The group comprises* IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry and IPL governing council member Sourav Ganguly, and will be assisted by Ushanath Banerjee, the board's legal counsel.
The board's response came after an IPL governing council meeting in Mumbai on Sunday, following the Lodha committee decision to suspend the owners of the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals franchises earlier this week.
The BCCI press release after the meeting stated the working group would "study this verdict, in consultation with all our key advisors and explore all the possible measures to be adopted, with an objective to protect the interests of all the stakeholders involved."
The release further stated: "This group will work within a time bound period of six weeks and report their recommendations to the IPL GC, which will deliberate and share their views with the working committee of the BCCI, for further action."
The general tone of the meeting was to explore the process of inviting bids for two new franchises and the possibility of a 10-team IPL after two years.
It is understood that most of the governing council members who spoke during the hour-long meeting were of the opinion that the BCCI should start the procedure of inviting tenders for the new teams for a longer duration to ensure that the IPL's eight-team format is maintained over the next two years.
The committee was also briefed about a suggestion from former BCCI treasurer and joint secretary MP Pandove, over the addition of two teams and the likelihood of a ten-team IPL from 2018. Pandove confirmed to ESPNcricinfo he had "made such a suggestion to the secretary [Thakur] since I think that's the most viable option for now".
Some members also cited the examples of the 2011 and 2012 IPL seasons - which were played with ten and nine teams respectively - and said if the two teams do return to the fold after serving the two-year suspension, the IPL could be played with ten teams.
Sundar Raman, the IPL's chief operating officer, reportedly said a ten-team IPL could be a logistical nightmare, but a former BCCI office bearer responded by saying Raman should not term the idea unworkable as he was an integral part of IPL's earlier expansion.
It is understood that the issue of the termination of the suspended teams' franchise agreements was discussed, but no direct demand was made. The council was assured that the five-member working group will consider all options.
Shukla's suggestion of the BCCI independently running the two suspended franchises for two years was presented to the committee and was backed by a current office bearer who proposed that leading financial solutions firms could be involved in running the teams on the board's behalf.
A former cricketer on the governing council - who had urged the BCCI not to leave the players who contributed to the IPL brand in a lurch - reportedly said that individuals like Rahul Dravid [Rajasthan Royals mentor] and MS Dhoni [captain, Chennai Super Kings] are capable of running teams, if required, without an outsider's assistance.
The former office bearer then said Dhoni - whose comments about Gurunath Meiyappan to the Mudgal probe panel came under scrutiny - cannot be entrusted with such a responsibility. Thakur is then understood to have informed the house that the legal experts have advised that the board's involvement in running two teams is not feasible.
Thakur is also believed to have hinted at strict action against all the guilty entities.
July 20, 3.00pm *This piece was amended to reflect the BCCI's announcement of the Working Group's composition