The Indian Premier League's Governing Council on Wednesday cleared the decks for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's return to Chennai Super Kings, which will make a comeback to the league in the 2018 edition, following a two-year suspension.
The IPL Governing Council, after a meeting in New Delhi, allowed CSK and Rajasthan Royals, which was also banned for alleged spot-fixing and betting, to retain the players who were on their 2015 roster. Dhoni had played for the Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) in the last two editions.
"An IPL Franchise is eligible to secure up to 5 players by virtue of a combination of Player Retention (Pre Player Auction) and Right to Match (RTM) (During the Player Auction)," BCCI Acting Secretary Amitabh Choudhary said in a statement after the meeting.
"The player pool available for CSK and RR for retention/RTM will be the players' who played for them respectively in IPL 2015 and who were part of RPS and Gujarat Lions squads in IPL 2017," he added.
RTM refers to a franchise's right to match the highest bidder for a player.
The IPL Governing Council also hiked the salary budget of the franchises from Rs 66 crore to Rs 80 crore for the next year's auction, tentatively set for February.
"The minimum spend will be 75 per cent of the salary cap for each season," the BCCI stated.
The minimum auction reserve price of uncapped players has also been raised with the upper limit increased to Rs 40 lakh from Rs 30 lakh.
For the capped players, who were earlier bracketed in the Rs 30 lakh and Rs 50 lakh category, the new base price will be Rs 50 lakh and Rs 75 lakh respectively.
IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla said all decisions were taken after reaching a consensus with the teams.
"Almost six out of eight teams wanted about 6 to 8 retentions. In a way, we have found a middle path (with the possibility of buying back five players through retention or RTM)," said Shukla.
He further said that auction will be held in the last week of January or early February.
On the Rs 550 crore compensation that the court has asked the BCCI to pay to the defunct Kochi Tuskers, Shukla said the matter will be tabled in the SGM in New Delhi on December 11.
CSK and Rajasthan Royals were suspended owing to the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, which shook the league to its core, and the allegedly involved not just players but also some top officials of the two franchises.
IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni in Chennai Super Kings colours