IPL 2021 to follow eight-team format with playoffs

Even if the BCCI approves of the two new IPL teams in its AGM on Thursday, it will take a while to get them introduced to the tournament straightaway.

RCB batsman Devdutt Padikkal in action at the Indian Premier League 2020 in the UAE.   -  Sportzpics / BCCI

Despite the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI’s) Annual General Meeting (AGM) on December 24 set to approve addition of two new teams to the Indian Premier League (IPL) bandwagon, IPL 2021 may still be played with the same format, an eight-team-round robin followed by Playoffs.

Sportstar understands that the proposal to add two new teams will be passed unanimously on the floor of the AGM but the “office-bearers will be authorised to chalk out nitty-gritty”. “Approval on inclusion of 2 (two) new teams to the Indian Premier League,” states one of the 23 points on the agenda of the meeting, to be held in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

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“Once the addition of the two new teams is approved in principle, the office-bearers will figure out whether it’s feasible to add two new teams right away,” revealed an insider. “At the moment, they have been advised that eight teams should be persisted with for IPL 2021. Once the market improves, the teams can be added for IPL 2022.”

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The BCCI hierarchy is learnt to be all but convinced about waiting till IPL 2022 before adding two new teams. On the commercial front, consideing the fickle economic situation primarily due the pandemic, it will not get the best deal either from prospective bidders or the broadcaster. Besides, it has also been asked to wait since adding two new teams that will to lead to an overhaul of all the existing teams will be a logistical and tactical nightmare for the BCCI executives and IPL franchises to pull off at a short notice.

A couple of franchise officials confirmed that despite “not having any say in decision-making”, they have been informally told to be ready for IPL 2021 with “the same format”.

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