What’s the story?
Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions will make way for the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2018. Quashing rumours that there might be a ten-team set up in the eleventh edition of the IPL, Gujarat Lions owner Keshav Bansal told Cricbuzz that
“The contract states that the two new teams Pune and Gujarat will go out, so that's the fact of the matter. When we bought the team, it was very clear that we will be buying it only for two years and after two years, these two teams will go out and the other two will come back, so that's the way it is."
In case you didn’t know…
Two new franchises in Pune and Gujarat were formed when the BCCI suspended the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in 2015, for the betting activities involving their owners, Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, respectively.
The Lions and Supergiants were contractually bound to be part of the league for a period of two years, which ends with the culmination of IPL 2017.
The heart of the matter
There were rumours that IPL 2018 could be a ten-team set up, accommodating the Chennai and Rajasthan sides along with their replacements. However, Bansal made it clear that although given the choice, they would love to continue participating in the tournament, the current contract won’t allow them to feature beyond this season.
The Royals might return with co-owners by their side, and is in talks with a leading corporate to stake its claim in the team.
IPL 2018 could see open auctions take place, with no team allowed to retain their current players and a fresh playing ground for the franchises to build their team once again. Stars like MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina, who were starting to get associated with their new franchises, will join another team, come next year.
The move to welcome the suspended teams in the IPL is a huge boost to fans of either side, who had longed to see their favourite stars in action in their team jersey. However, it will also be big blow to the fans in Pune and Gujarat, whose dreams of having an IPL team were limited to just two seasons.