What’s the story?
Suspended IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings is set to give their fans something to cheer about as the management might be in action later this year, but this time in South Africa’s new T20 league. Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited (CSKCL) has shown interest in owning a team in the newly launched league that is likely to take place in November-December this year.
Speaking to Times of India, one of the directors of CSKCL, K George John, confirmed the development and spoke about the huge fan following for CSK in the country when IPL moved to South Africa in 2009.
“We have informed them about our interest. It's the first step to take. However, we haven't yet got the bidding documents. We had a very good fan following when the IPL happened in South Africa in 2009. But nothing has been finalised as of now and we will have a clear picture closer to the deadline (April 18) for submission of bids,” John said.
In case you didn’t know...
Last month, Cricket South Africa confirmed its plans to launch a brand new T20 league that will take place later this year and put out a tender, inviting bids for eight T20 teams that will take part in the tournament. The competition will be South Africa's answer to the Indian Premier League, Big Bash League, and the Caribbean Premier League.
It was also announced that March 3rd will be the deadline date for the owners to show their interest to own and operate a franchise. The deadline for the formal bids is April 18, after which CSA will announce the new team owners.
The heart of the matter
CSA revealed that they have received more than 150 'expressions of interest' for ownership of the teams in the league out of which about 35% are from India and 39% from the host country.
When asked about the motive behind this move, John said they are looking to 'build brand CSK' across the globe. “As of now we have only thought of expanding and building the brand globally. We wanted to explore opportunities, see new markets, analyse and research the financial aspects,” he added.
John also said that their move to invest in a foreign T20 league has 'nothing to do' with the suspension of CSK from IPL.
Parallels from history
This is not the first time an IPL franchise has shown interest in foreign T20 leagues. Two years ago, Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood actor and co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, bought a stake from the Caribbean Premier League franchise, Trinibago Knight Riders. Last year, the owner of Royal Challengers Bangalore, Dr. Vijay Mallya confirmed that he bought the CPL team from Barbados, Barbados Tridents.
It is good to see IPL teams showing an interest in buying the T20 teams outside India. This will also help them in scouting lesser-known overseas players for their IPL teams. The franchises should also try to convince the BCCI to allow the Indian players to take part in overseas leagues.