Stage set for OPL-II in next April

Cuttack: Encouraged by the success of last year`s inaugural edition of Orissa Premier League (OPL) cricket tournament, the OPL governing council is now all set to conduct the second edition of the popular tournament in April next year.

The council meeting here on Sinday decided to hold the OPL-II from April 1 to April 22, 2012 with 12 teams participating in it, two more than the introductory edition. "Besides the ten teams which featured last year, two more franchisees would be allowed to play this time on the basis of their bidding prices," said OCA secretary Asirbad Behera adding the ten odd teams would renew their franchise with last year`s bid price.

The council also decided that both the inaugural and final matches of the OPL-II would be played at Barabati stadium here while the league matches would be played at six venues-it was five last time-r) of the state. Sources said Balasore or Rourkela could become the lucky sixth-venue of the OPL-II.

Among other major decisions, the council decided to increase the prize money for the winners this time. While the winner would pocket a cash prize of Rs five lakhs, the runners up would be richer by Rs three lakhs. Similarly, the third placed team would receive prize money of Rs one lakh while the fourth would get Rs 50,000.

The council has also decided that this time each team would be allowed to spend a maximum of Rs 10 lakhs for purchasing both graded and catchment area players. A franchisee shall have at least four players from their catchment areas to make up its team of 16 and at least two of them must be fielded in playing 11.

A purse limit of only Rs 8 lakhs for players` auction had caused a lot of problems for some of the franchisees last year as some of the star players` auction prices were pegged at beyond imagination.