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Modi gets his way, 10 IPL teams from 2011
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: It was supposed to be a meeting to clip Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi’s wings. Instead, the IPL’s governing council meeting on Thursday cemented Modi’s position as IPL supremo. Contrary to media speculation , Modi will continue to head IPL till 2012.

His proposal to increase the number of teams from eight to 10 in the 2011 edition — which was being opposed by some members and franchisees earlier — was also accepted without any opposition.

However, keeping in mind frequent injuries to players due to a packed calendar, BCCI is mulling a cap on the number of matches Indian players can play in the IPL.

At the meeting, Modi and BCCI secretary N Srinivasan , who were reported to be at loggerheads, showed no hint of acrimony. The meeting went on for three-and-a-half hours, an hour more than scheduled and there were smiling faces all around, handshakes and pat-on-the-back camaraderie.

‘Modi is doing excellent job’

BCCI president Shashank Manohar put all speculation to rest on Thursday by announcing that Lalit Modi will remain the chairman of IPL till 2012. ‘‘ Somebody’s fertile brain came up with an idea that Lalit Modi is being removed as IPL chairman and a conspiracy is being hatched by myself, my secretary (Srinivasan), treasurer (Pandove) and Farooq Abdullah (member of marketing committee). Modi is doing an excellent job and he has been appointed by the general body till 2012. There is no reason and no power or authority to remove him,’’ Manohar said after the meeting.

As Manohar spoke, both Modi and Srinivasan, sitting on either side of the president, nodded along, suggesting that reports about the two having serious issues with each other were completely false.

‘‘ There could be differences or issues between people but that doesn’t make them enemies . I am very sorry to say that the picture presented by the media is absolutely baseless ,’’ Manohar added.

That is when Manohar was also asked to explain what exactly Modi’s position in IPL is? ‘‘ The IPL is a statutory subcommittee of the BCCI and Modi is the chairman of that sub-committee . Like Rajiv Shukla is chairman of finance sub-committee , Arun Jaitley is the chairman of the umpires sub-committee . Because there has to be certain continuity in the process of running a tournament, a provision has been made in the constitution that allows Modi to remain chairman of the IPL sub-committee for five years, unlike other sub-committees which change every year,’’ Manohar explained.

On the issue to put a cap on number of matches played by Indian players, a source close to the BCCI bigwigs said: ‘‘ This (injuries and fatigue) was a cause of concern for the BCCI. But right now, the only way is to put a cap on the numbers of matches for the Indian cricketers. In other words, the players can pick and chose their games and can also get rest when they want.”

Sources also said that some committee members talked at length about the concerns of the cricketers in case the number of matches go up in the IPL. ‘‘ BCCI is planning to make an arrangement that will allow the players to stay fit and that too without losing out on money. I guess, IPL will have a discussion with the team owners on this,’’ sources said.

As for Lalit Modi, it is now clear that he is neither the commissioner of the IPL nor the league chairman. He is the IPL chairman till 2012. And until then, as president Manohar said, BCCI remains a ‘happy family’

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