The most sort after T20 tournament in the world, the Indian Premier League might grow up to the level where they stage the competition between ten teams. With the inaugural edition taking place more than ten years ago in 2008, it’s the second instance that BCCI has thought to bring about the increase in the number of participating teams, with the first being in 2011.
Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Pune Warriors India were the other two teams that were thrown into the mix among all the other already established IPL sides. While both teams enjoyed their own share of highs and lows, they eventually had to bow out of the tournament for their own separate reasons.
The news of two more IPL teams has got the cricket fans across the globe all charged up and have already went about making their own set of conjectures for the two cities that might get IPL teams. Here are 5 cities that make a reasonable case for themselves as strong contenders to blend into the IPL scheme of things next year.
1. Rajkot (Gujarat)
Rajkot. (Photo Source: WWF)
The state has got an IPL team before for two seasons in 2016 and 2017 when the Gujarat Lions, led by Suresh Raina had finished in the top two in 2016. The existence of the team was primarily because the first edition’s finalists in Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals getting debarred for these two years.
The Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad was the venue to the 2011 World Cup Quarter Final match between India and Australia and has hosted many international matches. After its reconstruction, the seating capacity will go up to one lakh, an ideal home for a potential IPL franchise.
In the 2016-17 season of the Ranji Trophy, Parthiv Patel-led Gujarat defeated Mumbai by 5 wickets in the final to win the title for the first time. All these events have led to an all-time high interest for the sport in the state and them getting an IPL franchise would certainly help Indian cricket in the long run.
2. Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh)
The most populous state of the country, Uttar Pradesh, prominent cricketers like Suresh Raina, Piyush Chawla, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have all come up from this state and represented at the highest level.
If sources are to be believed, a group of businessmen from Kanpur or Lucknow aspire to buy an IPL team, also enjoying the support of a former BCCI administrator.
While Lucknow hosted it’s first-ever T20 international game when India played against the West Indies over here in November last year, Kanpur’s Green Park stadium has hosted many international cricket matches. It would be interesting to see an IPL franchise from Lucknow.
3. Pune (Maharashtra)
While the city has already been a part of the tournament with two different names, the Rising Pune Supergiant went all the way till the finals of the 2017 season in a match that the Mumbai Indians narrowly managed to win.
The analogy can be explained by taking the domestic scenario where Mumbai and Maharashtra are two different sides. Similarly for the IPL as well, the state is too large and diverse to have only one team to show for its cricketing exploits.
What works for this prospect being materialized with a chance better than others is that the team owners from the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Sanjay Goenka-led RPG group have indicated their interests of crawling their way back to be a part of the cash-rich tournament and might bid for a Pune based IPL team yet again.
4. Ranchi (Jharkhand)
Ranchi. (Photo Source: Trip101)
There’s only one name that creeps up in the mind when we use Ranchi and cricket in the same sentence. The rise of Mahendra Singh Dhoni from Ranchi has been an inspirational story for ages to come that your willpower can take you far.
His stature and influence in world cricket now make the Ranchi crowd avid followers of the game and people turn up in massive numbers whenever there’s an international match conducted in this part of the country. The word goes around that the Tatas are keen on investing in an IPL team from Jharkhand.
A fair amount of IPL matches have been played in Ranchi and a franchise from this relatively backward Indian city would mean the world for aspiring young cricketers that don’t enjoy the luxury of many opportunities.
5. Kochi (Kerala)
Having already made an IPL appearance before, the state hasn’t been traditionally providing players to Indian cricket. Of all the contemporaries, only Sanju Samson can be vaguely associated as a recognized player from the state that has been devoid of opportunities for youngsters trying to make it big with their cricket careers.
Quite similar to the talent scout program initiated by Jagmohan Dalmiya in the early part of the millennium that helped cricketers from second and third-tier cities like MS Dhoni rise up the ranks and pave their way into the Indian team, it is only imperative that the IPL governing council takes into consideration that people are given increased opportunities.
There must be voluntary measures taken to encourage people from regions where such cricket opportunities are not as readily available. Having an IPL franchise of their own would be a step in the right direction for cricket to be appreciated even in places like these where players are devoid of the recognition they must be given.
~ Written by Dwaipayan Mukherjee
SportsInfo offers cricket, soccer, kabaddi, tennis, badminton, racing, basketball and other sports news, articles, videos, live coverage & live scores, player rankings & team rankings. Also, offers minute details of any match along with live commentary.
- After returning from army duty, MS Dhoni dons the politician role
- MS Dhoni batting higher in World Cup semis could’ve made things different, feels Virender Sehwag
- 5 Crucial series Team India will play under Ravi Shastri in his second stint as head coach
- BCCI reduces S Sreesanth’s life ban to seven years
- Windies vs India: Ravi Ashwin could miss out from the playing XI for the first Test