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Pune and Kochi to join 2011 Indian Premier League

Royal Challengers Bangalore celebrate a wicket in the IPL
The Indian Premier League features some of the world's best cricketers

Pune and Kochi have been announced as the two new franchises in the Indian Premier League.

Pune was bought by Sahara Adventure Sports Group for $370m (£246m) and Kochi went to Rendezvous Sports World Limited for $333m at a Chennai auction.

The two new franchises will join the IPL from 2011, taking the total number of teams to 10.

Earlier this month, the MCC scrapped plans to buy into an IPL franchise and host matches at Lord's.

The new teams were originally due to be unveiled on 7 March but the process was delayed by two weeks after a dispute over financial clauses.

Sahara and Rendezvous were competing with three other companies, including the Adani Group and VC Digital Solution.

606: DEBATE

Sahara made bids for Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Pune, before deciding to host its team in the latter.

"The IPL is undoubtedly the most ground-breaking international sports development in living memory," said Sahara spokesman Abhijit Sarkar. "I can promise the people of Pune a team they will be proud of."

IPL commissioner Lalit Modi added: "We are absolutely delighted by the overwhelming response to our global Franchise Invitation to Tender process.

"I am also certain that the IPL fans in Kochi and Pune would be particularly excited with an IPL franchise for their respective cities.

"Given the high quality of franchises that we have selected, we are certain that both the new franchises will do everything in their power to ensure good competitive teams for next year."

Competition to buy the teams reflects the success of the world's richest cricket league, whose third season is currently underway.

Some of India's richest men are desperate to be part of India's first ever successful domestic sports league

BBC India correspondent Rahul Tandon

"It's fantastic that two new teams have come in, it will give more youngsters an opportunity to show their talent and that's only going to be good for Indian cricket," said former India captain Sunil Gavaskar.

"The youngsters will not only come into national focus but international focus as well."

BBC correspondent Rahul Tandon in Kolkata says the IPL has become a multi-billion dollar industry, which attracts some of the country's wealthiest businessman.

The games feature some of the world's biggest stars and are played out against a backdrop of razzmatazz, including Bollywood music and cheerleaders for the teams.

"Some of India's richest men are desperate to be part of India's first ever successful domestic sports league," said Tandon.

"It's not because they love the game.

"It is to get access to the millions of young Indians who every evening watch the IPL at home on their television sets.

"Cricket is big business in one of the world's fastest growing economies."



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see also
IPL under way amid security fears
12 Mar 10 |  South Asia
MCC rejects IPL franchise plan
05 Mar 10 |  Cricket
Lord's could host IPL - MCC chief
25 Feb 10 |  Cricket
English club linked with IPL team
16 Feb 10 |  Cricket
Third IPL begins with a whimper
19 Jan 10 |  South Asia
Warne's Royals win inaugural IPL
02 Jun 08 |  Cricket


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