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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Gujarat likely to field a team in IPL next season

Gujarat likely to field a team in IPL next season

April 10, 2012 15:21 IST

The tenth team in the next IPL season could well be from Gujarat. Right now there are nine teams in the fray after the BCCI suspended Kochi Tuskers Kerala (KTK) from the IPL over non-payment of dues. A franchisee from Gujarat may take replace KTK.

Earlier, when it was decided to include two more teams in the IPL to make it ten teams in the competition, the Adani Group from the state had also thrown their hat in the ring with a team called Vibrant Gujarat. But in the end they were outbid by Pune Warriors and the KTK.

With KTK no longer there, the Narendra Modi government is reportedly planning to field a team from Gujarat in the new bidding for IPL 2013. The team will be appropriately called Gujarat Gaurav.

According to highly reliable sources, Modi, who is also the president of Gujarat Cricket Association, is very keen on having a franchisee from the state in the lucrative tournament. It is learnt that BJP bigwig Arun Jaitley, who is very close to the Gujarat chief minister, has been helping him in this regard. Jaitley, recently elected to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, is not only the president of Delhi and District Cricket Association but also a member of the IPL governing council.

Gautam Adani of the Adani Group and Anil Ambani of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group are said to be the likely promoters of Gujarat Gaurav. It is also learnt that Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who is a much sought-after brand ambassador of Gujarat, may also invest a few percent in the Gujarat Gaurav team.

"The state of Gujarat, which fields three different teams -- Gujarat, Baroda and Saurashtra -- in the Ranji Trophy, deserves to have its own team in the IPL. Though everything is still in the pipeline, we are determined to make it a reality," said an influential BJP leader from Gujarat on condition of anonymity.

Haresh Pandya