IPL 2014: 5 Early Predictions for Next Year's Tournament
The seventh edition of the IPL will take place in 2014, and for a tournament many thought wouldn't last for more than one year, it's certainly got some staying power.
Pune Warriors India have been withdrawn from the tournament, and there are currently just seven teams signed up for next year's edition.
The 2014 IPL will start with a very big auction. All three-year contracts have now ended, and there have been rumours that the auction rules will change to see all players go into the auction pool instead of relying on the retainment policy. The auction will also be in rupees and not USD as before.
Very little is actually certain about the 2014 IPL at the moment, but here are five predictions for what could happen in the next season.
A Dramatic Move for a Big-Name Player
There are certain players who have become associated with certain teams. MS Dhoni has been Chennai Super Kings' leader for ages, Sachin Tendulkar (who has retired) is part of the furniture at Mumbai and Shahrukh Khan is part of Kolkata Knight Riders.
What is certain is that there is likely to be one "shock" shift from at least one player. It could be a domestic star or an international player, but someone who has been part of a team for ages is likely to move on.
Such a move across the Indian Premier League wouldn't cause as much outrage as a player in the English Premier League moving from Tottenham to Arsenal, for example, but there will still be plenty of fuss.
Better Policing of Dodgy Practices
The spot-fixing and betting scandal of the 2013 edition kicked up a big stink. It was a big blow to the tournament's credibility and the BCCI's ability to keep a beady eye on things.
The BCCI are not stupid, though, and they know if they want to keep the tournament going—and if they want to win back some of their credibility—some big steps need to be taken to ensure everyone believes the tournament is clean.
It will take a lot of noise from the powers that be to ensure that the cynical are convinced, and while it might be a big and hopeful prediction, it would be great to see the sport's governing body take at least a little bit of responsibility.
Some English Players Will Get a Shot
The ECB have always had a bone of contention with their players featuring in the IPL, mostly because the tournament tends to cut into their season. After their series next year against Sri Lanka was pushed out to start 28 days later than the 2013 season, though, England's schedule will be relatively clear.
It is not yet certain when the 2014 IPL will be held. There is still a World T20 in Bangladesh to contend with. That will not finish until April 6. England players still have plenty of time to devote to playing in the IPL after their Test schedule was adjusted. As a result, there might be quite a few English players in the 2014 edition of the competition.
A New Team Will Rise
With the Pune Warriors now out of the competition, there is room for another team to take their place. The mechanics of new teams is rather complicated, but money goes a long way in helping secure a spot. If this post bordered on the facetious, it would suggest that the team to slot in will be made up of the best players pooled from different franchises around the world.
However, such a statement is not even particularly far fetched, since that is essentially what will happen.
There are a number of players looking for a new home with Pune being defunct, but where they may roam nobody knows.
It Will Be Much More Competitive
A team that stays together, plays well together. With all sides likely to undergo a big facelift, most of them will learn to play together all over again. This will mean that all teams are more likely to have a number of blips. Whoever jells together the fastest, or whoever manages to rebuy most of their players, will have a massive advantage.
Overall, though, the competition will be feisty and a bit more competitive with a playing field that has been levelled somewhat.