The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is all set to include two of the most successful franchises in IPL – Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, back into the fray in its 11th edition in 2018. The BCCI has planned to welcome the two franchises on the same day it releases the ‘Invitation To Tender’ (ITT) for media rights auction post the ongoing edition of IPL.
The Supreme Court had suspended two-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, winners of the inaugural edition for two seasons following the spot-fixing scandal that came into focus in 2013. To maintain IPL as an eight-team tournament, two new franchises, Rising Pune Supergiant and Gujarat Lions, were formed and the players from the suspended teams were auctioned to the remaining franchises.
It has been learnt that CSK are planning for a grand return and are in the middle of finalising events themed around their massive fan base. It has also been learnt that MS Dhoni will return to the Super Kings immediately after the conclusion of the 2017 edition of IPL. Presently, Dhoni is with the Rising Pune Supergiants and has been in the news for all unnecessary reasons other than cricket. CSK will welcome their skipper in grand style for sure; after all, he had led the team successfully for eight long years.
The Royals, on the other hand, are looking for a possible investment from a leading corporate that already has interests in the IPL as of now. Hence, it could return to the 2018 edition of the IPL with a new co-owner. The corporate in question is participating in all possible discussions as the tournament has caught their chairman’s imagination and made him interested in investing in it. It has also been discovered that they have even bought Suresh Chellaram’s 49% share in the ownership structure to avoid any kind of controversy and clear up all internal mess.
After two long years, the fans of both the franchises have got to hear some good news and they will be eager to see their respective teams playing in the tournament again. However, it remains to be seen if the two franchises can become the same force as they used to be.