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    IPL5 likely to follow a nine team format

    New Delhi: Their team might have been terminated from the Indian Premier League (IPL), but all is not lost for the former players of Kochi Tuskers Kerala, who could be made available to other franchises through a player auction early next year.

    As the newly formed IPL governing council, headed by chairman Rajiv Shukla get ready for their much awaited meeting on Friday, another move that is on the cards is that The IPL is likely to comprise nine teams in 2012, and is also expected to return to the home-and-away format of the first three seasons.

    The other issues are whether a new team will replace Kochi, the dates for a trading window and player auction, and the participation of Pakistan cricketers in the league. The IPL management met with franchises individually to solicit their views on these issues.

    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 crores (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.

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