Rising Pune Supergiant despite being a defunct franchise now, has landed Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) in some discomfort, prompting them to write to BCCI, which has thrown up a unique challenge in front of the board.
The IPL, yet to announce the final schedule and fixtures of this year’s edition, are in a fix because of the unwritten rule being followed by the tournament for the last few years, which awards the second qualifier and eliminator to the runner-ups of last edition. But now, the absence of Supergiant has given a chance to the other state associations like UPCA (Lucknow), CAB (Kolkata) to stake a claim of the IPL playoffs as a possible replacement of Pune, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
The Supergiant will not be a part of IPL 11 even after punching above their weight to end up as runner-up in the last season as they and Gujarat Lions were a stopgap for 2 years for suspended franchises Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, who have made a comeback after serving their ban.
Fearing they might lose out their right of hosting the playoff matches, the MCA has officially written to the BCCI. MCA president Abhay Apte has written to the IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, requesting them to let Pune host two IPL play-off matches – one qualifier and the eliminator, as it has been happening for last few years.
"For past several years we are observing a practice, which has become an unwritten rule of playing the first (tournament opener), and Qualifier 1 as well as the final match at the venue of last year's champions and playing the Eliminator and Qualifier 2 matches at the venue of the runners up team," Apte said in the e-mail. "Pune IPL team (Supergiant) was the runner-up during the last year's IPL and of course the home venue was Pune. As such, the venue of the last year's runners-up of IPL team i.e. MCA's Gahunje, Pune should be the logical choice to stage the Eliminator and Qualifier 2 matches."
Interestingly, Pune is also the alternative home venue of the Rajasthan Royals, who are fighting a court battle to stage their home matches in Jaipur. The eleventh edition of IPL kickstarts from April 7.