Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's return to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 season is now just a formality with the IPL Governing Council announcing on Wednesday that the IPL franchises, including CSK and Rajasthan Royals (RR) who return to the IPL after two-year suspensions, will be allowed to retain five players each through Player Retention (before the player auction) or through Right to Match (RTM, franchise's right to match the highest bidder for a player). CSK and RR have the allowance to retain players from among those who played for them in the 2015 season and it is almost certain that Dhoni will be back in CSK colours in the next season. "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 (Rising Pune Supergiant) and GL (Gujarat Lions) squads in IPL 2017," the council said in a release.
"The Indian Premier League Governing Council along with the Committee of Administrators (CoA) met in New Delhi on Wednesday to discuss IPL Player retention policy, salary cap, player regulations and other related issues," the release stated.
The governing council also decided that 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).
A maximum of either 3 retention or 3 RTM at the discretion of the franchises. If there is no retention before player auction then franchises can have up to 3 RTM.
CSK and Rajasthan Royals were suspended owing to the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, which shook the league to its core and allegedly involved not just players but also some top officials of the two franchises.
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 caps for the two subsequent years have been fixed at Rs 82 crore and 85 crore respectively.
"The minimum spend will be 75 per cent of the salary cap for each season," BCCI Acting Secretary Amitabh Choudhary said in a statement after the meeting.
The auction reserve prices have also been increased, with a hike of Rs 10 lakh in the prices for uncapped players, which will now begin from Rs 20, 30 or 40 lakh.
As regards the capped players, the reserve prices at the lowest two levels have been increased from Rs 30 lak to 50 lakh and from 50 lak to 75 lakh. However, the other three price slabs (Rs 1 crore, 1.5 crore and 2 crore) remain the same.
(With PTI inputs)