Opinions were divided during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council (GC) meet on Sunday, where important decisions regarding the fate of the two suspended teams -- Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals -- were expected to be made. CSK and RR were suspended for two years by the Lodha Committee.
BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur and former treasurer Ajay Shirke were reportedly open to terminating the two teams completely, but they met stiff opposition from Ravi Shastri, who was against the decision, as he felt that CSK and RR have played an important role in forming the IPL brand.
Both Shirke and Shastri had joined the all-important meeting via a video conference over skype from the UK.
"The option of termination of these franchises was raised by Ajay Shirke. However, it was opposed by former all-rounder and team India director Ravi Shastri. Incidentally, both Shastri and Shirke had joined the meeting on skype from London. Arguing CSK and Royals' case vehemently, Shastri said that both the teams had contributed to the IPL brand big time over the years," a BCCI source told the Times of India.
Shastri was of the belief that the players of the two IPL teams should not suffer due to the fault of their owners. Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra were the two main people involved in the 2013 IPL betting scandal, which has even led to their ban from cricket related activities for life.
"He argued that why should the players, or the support staff, say a reputed ex-cricketer like Rahul Dravid suffer because of the (alleged) misdeeds of (Gurunath) Meiyappan and (Raj) Kundra."
The scenes inside the meeting got heated as well for BCCI secretary Anurag Shukla contradicted to the stance taken by Shastri, who is also India's team director.
"The secretary [Anurag Thakur] shot back saying that didn't the Board think along these lines while terminating contracts of Kochi, Pune and other franchises in the past? Where was player interest back then? Clearly, Thakur has a strong view on this," said the source. "His point: 'Why should we decide that we don't want to terminate the teams now. This call must be left to the working group."
Kochi Tuskers Kerala's contract was terminated in 2011 by the BCCI, but one should not be surprised if they make a comeback into the IPL next season, should CSK and RR be terminated from the IPL. Pune Warriors were terminated by the BCCI in 2013 for payment defaults.
A working group will be formed on Monday to further look at the the verdict passed by Lodha Committee last week, and a report is expected in about six weeks.