The Rising Pune Supergiant and the Gujarat Lions might get the IPL chop for the returning Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals in 2018.
The Super Kings and the Royals were both handed two-year bans from the competition after senior officials of the respective sides were found guilty of match-fixing.
The two former champions were duly replaced by the Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiant for the duration of the ban. In 2016, Gujarat’s first season was a success, as they topped the log after the round-robin stage. Though they ultimately lost out on a place in the final, the campaign was a more than respectable debut season.
The Supergiants (as they were called in 2016), meanwhile, finished second-last on the log in 2016. So far in 2017 they have fared a whole lot better. They beat the table-topping Mumbai Indians by 20 runs in Qualifier 1 on Tuesday to clinch a spot in the title match on Sunday.
This does beg the question: surely the respective teams have done more than enough to justify inclusion in the 2018 edition? As it stands, however, neither side is pencilled in to participate.
The owner of the Gujarat side explained the current situation in an interview on cricbuzz’s website.
‘As we speak today, the contract states that the two new teams Pune and Gujarat will go out, so that’s the fact of the matter,’ Bansal told Cricbuzz on 3 May.
‘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.’
One must also consider why the Royals and Super Kings have not been handed harsher penalties for their transgressions. After all, players such as Sreesanth were handed life bans for their roles in match-fixing.
While one cannot hold an entire franchise accountable for the actions of certain individuals, teams such as the Supergiant and Lions should perhaps, at the very least, be rewarded for their performances over the last two years.
Could we see a ten-team IPL in 2018?