The expansion of the Indian Premier League (IPL) ahead of the 2022 edition has been confirmed as two new franchises are all set to enter the fray next year. A few days back, the BCCI invited the tender for the purchase of two new IPL teams and the ‘invitation to tender’ will be available till October 5. As per recent reports, the board has put shortlisted six cities – Guwahati, Ranchi, Cuttack (all East), Ahmedabad (West), Lucknow (Central Zone), and Dharamsala (North) – for the two new teams. Apparently, the BCCI wants to take the IPL to the Hindi-speaking region more so in the north belt to keep the pan-India balance of the tournament. With the tournament all set to expand, we look at five potential owners of new IPL franchises.
1. Gautam Adani
He is seen among the strongest candidate to purchase the Ahmedabad franchise, if it is finalised among the two new franchises. Gautam Adani is the owner of Adani Group, an Ahmedabad-based multinational conglomerate involved in port development and operations in India. Adani was named Asia’s second-richest person before losing the title earlier this year. In the past as well, Adani has publicly shown interest in owning an IPL team. Interestingly, the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad already has an ‘Adani end’.
2. Sanjiv Goenka
Chairman of the RPSG Group, an Indian industrial and services conglomerate headquartered in Kolkata, Sanjiv Goenka seems interested in entering the IPL ring again. According to reports, he is keen on buying one of the new IPL franchises. RPSG Group earlier owned the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) for IPL 2016 and 2017.RPS did not qualify for the playoffs in the first season but reached the final in 2017, losing to Mumbai Indians in the final. MS Dhoni-led RPS in the first season and was replaced by Steve Smith in the second.
3. Salman Khan
Bollywood superstar Salman Khan could also enter the IPL fray. The Hindi film industry already has a massive presence in the IPL. Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla are co-owners of the Kolkata Knight Riders, while Preity Zinta is one of the owners of the Kings XI Punjab franchise. Salman already owns a Celebrity Cricket League (CCL) team while his brother Sohail Khan owns the Lanka Premier League (LPL) franchise Kandy Tuskers. It would be a big boost to the T20 league if Salman decides to own an IPL franchise.
Kerala legend Mohanlal is also said to be interested in buying a new IPL franchise, which will be seen in action from the 2022 edition. While the six cities reportedly shortlisted for the two franchises mostly cover the Hindi belt, speculations over Mohanlal’s interest grew after he was spotted at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium as one of the VIP guests during the IPL 2020 final between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals. His presence at the mega event sent social media into a complete frenzy.
5. Anand Mahindra
The chairman of the Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra made news earlier this year after his wonderful gesture to gift SUVs to six Team India stars for their heroics in Australia – Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, T Natarajan, Navdeep Saini, Shubman Gill and Shardul Thakur. Mahindra is a big fan of cricket, just like most others in the country. Although, there are no specific reports about him being likely to own an IPL franchise, given his love for the game, Mahindra may drive in a surprise.