The Board of Control for Cricket in India is considering adding one new team to the Indian Premier League next year, instead of the two planned earlier.
The BCCI wants to expand the T20 league to 10 teams, and had been planning to issue tenders inviting bids to launch the new franchises in 2020. The Times of India reported yesterday that several factors were leading the board towards adding only one team next year, and a tenth in 2022.
First, there is a lack of space in the cricket calendar. A 10-team league would require 90 matches, compared to 76 for a nine-team league. The Future Tours Programme international cricket calendar for 2023 onwards, to be issued by the International Cricket Council, will dictate whether there is space for further expansion.
Second, the BCCI is unsure if the business environment in India is healthy enough that two investors will be found to pay the mooted $300m franchise price.
Third, a reason that the BCCI is keen to move ahead with one team from next season is that a new, 100,000-capacity stadium is opening in Motera, Ahmedabad, in March, and the board wants an IPL team to take up residence there.
A decision on the number of expansion teams for 2020 will be taken at the BCCI annual general meeting on December 1.