Galaxy of famous names and two brand new franchises extend the world’s largest cricket tournament to 10 teams for the 15th season.

The Indian Premier League returns for the biggest season of its history on the weekend, with an array of famous names and two franchises that will expand the biggest cricket event in the world to include ten teams in the 15th season of the tournament.

The cricket-loving country will, at a minimum, be restricted up to 25% capacity, and the group games being restricted to four venues: three at Pune as well as three venues in Mumbai.

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The locations to host the three playoff games and the final on May 29 are not yet announced.

International T20 greats such as Australia’s David Warner and England’s Jos Buttler will be returning to play two full months of highly-octane Cricket. However, their fellow Englishman Ben Stokes and West Indies veteran big-hitter Chris Gayle are big names who are not expected to be present.

They will also be split between two five-team groups according to their previous IPL records to play 70 matches of the regular season, which is expected to be the first to be played entirely in India since 2019 due to an outbreak of the coronavirus.

«This season is expected to be a big one, and we hope to be able to fill the stadium within the next few weeks,» Arun Dhumal, treasurer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), informed AFP, the news agency.

«The new teams create an abundance of excitement after the auction of players it’s true that every team is fresh. There’s a lot of fresh blood, and we’re hoping it will be thrilling for both the players and fans.»

The ten teams spent $75m to purchase the 204 players who participated in the auction last month, including Mumbai Indians bringing back Ishan Kishan for $2 million.

England batsman Liam Livingstone was the most expensive player in the world for his Punjab Kings $1.52m to bolster their hopes of winning their debut IPL title.

The two teams, created at $1.6bn, comprise Gujarat Titans, owned by the United States venture capital fund CVC, and Lucknow Super Giants, backed by Indian billionaire Sanjiv Goenka.

IPL team Gujarat Titans is owned by United States venture capital fund CVC [File: Ajit Solanki/AP]
The Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians have been the most successful IPL team with five titles in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2019, and 2020.

The current champions are Chennai Super Kings, led by veteran India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. They’ll open the season with Kolkata Knight Riders, owned by Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan, at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Saturday.

The two-month event will feature 74 games, with teams being coached by former cricket legends such as Australians Ricky Ponting and Tom Moody, Stephen Fleming of New Zealand, and Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka.

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