For the past couple of years, there have been talks about the inclusion of one or two new franchises in the Indian Premier League (IPL). While there has been no official confirmation about the same, Rajasthan Royals owner Manoj Badale has given the issue more importance recently. Badale believes that the addition of another franchise will benefit the IPL on several fronts.
While speaking to IANS, Badale said that the current number of teams (eight) was good enough but adding another one would only help in the growth of the T20 tournament. He claimed that the addition of a new franchise will enable a new stadium to be played in, new fans to be deeply engaged in the game and more matches for all the teams' avid supporters, which should make the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reconsider their stance of playing with just 8 teams. Although it is worth to be noted that 7 of the current 8 teams are the only ones to maintain their presence in the competition since 2008 namely Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals.
Badale also supported the idea of organising international friendlies to enhance the IPL's brand value. He reminisced that Rajasthan Royals played the first and only ever IPL-associated friendly match in Lords in 2009 against Middlesex and backs the idea of playing some friendly matches abroad in 2020. He added that the support for the IPL in every cricket-playing nation around the world is big and playing international friendlies would give fans an opportunity to see their heroes from close quarters and create an electric atmosphere in the stands.
The Royals bought Robin Uthappa, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Kartik Tyagi, Tom Curran, Jaydev Unadkat, Anuj Rawat, David Miller, Oshane Thomas, Akash Singh, Akash Singh and Anirudha Ashok Joshi at the IPL 2020 auction. Badale said that they have stitched together a squad capable of adding to their lone IPL trophy which they won in the inaugural season in 2008. He added that they believed they had the right combination of captain and coach as well to achieve success. Badale went on to say that they ran an extremely vigorous process throughout the summer to select Andrew McDonald and were very happy with the appointment, while in Steve Smith, they have a captain with one of the best win percentages in the IPL.