MUMBAI, Dec 5(TOI): Indian cricket's thinktank gathered in IPL commissioner Chirayu Amin's bastion in Vadodara on Saturday for the third India-New Zealand one-dayer. But instead of enjoying Team India's decimation of New Zealand, they spent the day trying to find a solution to the brewing crisis in the Indian Premier League—the threat to the eight-team format in the Twenty20 league's fourth season.
According to sources, the BCCI bigwigs have been stumped by the relief granted to the Rajasthan Royals - its termination order stayed by six weeks - by the arbitrator. And, with the Kochi franchise getting its papers in order too, Shashank Manohar and friends are worried that they will be forced to look at a 10-team affair next year.
This possibility has triggered fears about the existing business model of the league and the economic viability of the six "original" teams which are finally hoping to make some serious profit in the fourth edition. In a 10-horse race, the revenues of all the teams from TV rights will be affected. And this has got the BCCI really worried.
"It won't be a viable option to have 10 teams this season and we still stand by the IPL's governing council's decision to terminate the contracts of the two IPL teams," a top official told TOI on Saturday.
The board members are also worried that more matches in a 10-team format could lead to the burnout of several Indian cricketers. More so, because the IPL is supposed to start just six days after the 2011 World Cup. Given a fixed IPL window, they would also struggle to squeeze in so many matches.
"There is no breathing space. If 10 teams are on board, it will be tough to adjust the extra matches," another BCCI official said, while indicating that the board has no option but to follow the rule book.
While the Royals have got relief from the arbitrator, the other terminated team, Kings XI Punjab, has moved the Bombay high court. Board officials are worried that if the BCCI gets an unfavourable order on that front too, the current IPL plan will go for a toss."This scenario is really scary," said a source.