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    Nine-team IPL-5, no decision on Pak players

    Hyderabad: Though the Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council on Friday confirmed that its fifth edition will have nine teams competing, the other important issues went without any discussion in the one-day meeting.

    The meet could not resolve the fate of the players represented the Kochi franchise which was axed from the IPL. And the matter of the participation of Pakistan players in the next edition of the event will only come up for discussion in the next meeting of the Governing Council.

    Also, the matter of trading modalities of the auction will be discussed at the next meeting.

    Meanwile, the schedule of the fifth edition of the cash-rich event was decided and will commence from April 4, 2012 and end on May 27.

    "The dates of the DLF IPL 2012 were confirmed. The tournament will begin in Chennai on April 4, 2012, and end on May 27. The opening ceremony will be held in Chennai on April 3, a day before the inaugural game," BCCI Secretary Sanjay Jagdale said in a release.

    The BCCI had voted to terminate the Kochi franchise at its annual general meeting last month.

    The Kochi players' salaries were covered through the franchise's bank guarantee worth Rs. 156 crore (already encashed by the BCCI), yet the question remains how leading players, both international and domestic, such as Muthiah Muralitharan, Brendon McCullum, Mahela Jayawardene and Parthiv Patel, will be made available to the franchises.

    Meanwhile, new IPL boss Rajiv Shukla assured that the interest of the affected players will be protected.

    "We will decide on that in the next Governing Council meeting, Kochi players or others. But we will fully protect the interest of the players," he said after the meeting.

    The issue of the participation of Pakistan players in the next IPL edition was also left in the lurch. "Pakistan was not on the agenda," he said.

    The Pakistani cricketers have not participated in the IPL since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

    The format of the event, which is bound to change after the decision of reducing it to nine teams, will also be discussed in the next meeting of the governing council, informed Shukla.

    "Format will be worked out when the managements explore the options. It will be discussed in the governing council meeting which will be held soon," he said.

    Shukla also refuted suggestions that the IPL had added to the player fatigue.

    "We have three formats. There are very few common players. There is no fatigue in common players. To avoid fatigue, we said there should be proper coordination between physio and trainer", Shukla said.

    "We will talk to the franchises to reduce the participation of players in parties that are held on the eve of matches. So that the players get rest. But if you say that there is fatigue due to IPL, I don't agree with that," he said.

    Another move in the pipeline could be the increase in the number of foreign players in a team from four to five.

    The council also did not consider another IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals' request to shift their base from Jaipur to Ahmedabad.

    "Ahmedabad as a city bids separately. Governing council is not ready for that," he said.

    The time of the next meeting was not declared yet but Shukla confirmed that it will be held soon.

    (With inputs from PTI)