The BCCI has approved a 10-team IPL from 2022. The decision was ratified by the BCCI's general body comprising the state associations at the board's annual general meeting on Thursday in Ahmedabad. Deciding on two additional teams was among the main points on the agenda for the board's 89th AGM; with less than four months left for the next IPL, it was decided to stick to eight teams for the 2021 edition.
Another important point was to discuss cricket's possible inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. The BCCI deferred taking a stand on it and will instead discuss it at a special general meeting in early 2021. With the ICC becoming more optimistic about the inclusion of cricket in the 2028 Summer Olympics, the body had recently sent a questionnaire to all member countries asking them to quantify the "potential financial benefits" they could accrue from their respective governments if cricket was included in the Olympics.
The biggest decision at the AGM concerned the expansion of IPL, which the BCCI has been discussing since the successful organisation of the recent edition in the UAE despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is understood that at the meeting on Thursday, both Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah, the BCCI president and secretary, stressed that the IPL must become bigger, to provide more opportunities to more players worldwide while adding new cities to the IPL map.
The board members - the state associations - accordingly decided that the IPL can comprise up to 10 teams from the 2022 edition and authorised the IPL governing council to finalise the preparations for the addition of the new teams. That means the 2022 IPL could have nine or 10 teams. The state associations and the BCCI office-bearers agreed that time constraints would prevent an additional franchise in 2021, which would remain an eight-team tournament.
The board also decided to set a cap of one franchise per state. Consequently, the new IPL franchise(s) would be located in a state where no existing franchise has a home base. With Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, West Bengal, Rajasthan, and the union territories of Delhi and Chandigarh ruled out, other international match venues like Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Visakhapatnam, Kochi/Thiruvananthapuram and Lucknow, would be favourites to host the new franchises.
BCCI open to cricket at LA Olympics but...
According to several state associations officials who attended the AGM, the members were open to the idea of cricket featuring in the 2028 summer Olympics. However, they wanted clarity on few key issues.
That included whether the BCCI would firstly need to give up its autonomy and become part of the Indian Olympic Association, which the members were against. The state associations also wanted to know what the revenue-sharing agreement would be like. There was also concern about whether participating in the Olympics could dilute the IPL, which has been the biggest money-spinner for the BCCI over the past decade.
Rajiv Shukla back as BCCI vice-president
Rajiv Shukla has returned as the BCCI vice-president after he was elected for the post at the AGM. Shukla had previously served as the board vice-president for three years when N Srinivasan was president, and now takes over the post left vacant by Mahim Verma earlier this year.
Shukla has had a long association with the BCCI; he has also served as the IPL chairman twice, from 2011 to 2013 and from 2015 to 2018. He had ended his first stint in the middle of 2013 following the IPL scandal over alleged corruption in the league when three Rajasthan Royals players were arrested for spot-fixing allegations.
On Thursday, Shukla said his focus as vice-president will always be to improve Indian cricket. "It's a great day for Indian cricket, we have taken many decisions in today's AGM by which cricket of our country will certainly be growing. This year COVID-19 impacted one and all but we managed to hold IPL this year and my focus as the vice-president will always be to improve Indian cricket," Shukla told ANI.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo