Rugby team makes foray into cricket through IPL

Published: Sunday, November 4, 2007, 19:00 [IST]
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Sydney: In an interesting move that could have a far reaching effect, Australian National Rugby League team South Sydney Rabbitohs is planning to make a foray into the game of cricket by buying a franchise of the newly launched Indian Premier League (IPL).

Rabbitohs, which is co-owned by Hollywood actor Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court, is planning to recruit cricket stars such as Brett Lee and Ricky Ponting for its cricket team in Mumbai.

''If the football club decides, this is something they want to get involved with, then the South's name could be spread,'' Holmes a Court confirmed told 'Sun-Herald'.

The proposed alliance between Souths and the IPL continues a fresh approach to sporting investment by Crowe and Holmes a Court.

Earlier this year the club had formed a ''global partnership'' with English club Leeds. The two clubs will play a trial match in Jacksonville, Florida, on Australia Day next year.

BCCI backed IPL is seeking applications by potential owners or investors in franchises, for its Twenty20 tournament in India next April.

The top two teams from the IPL, as well as those from Twenty20 competitions in Australia, England and South Africa will enter an international Champions Twenty20 league. That league will offer millions of dollars as prize money.

''The IPL board are looking for franchise owners who are genuinely competitive and have an aggressive and forward-thinking business approach,'' former NSW cricketer Neil Maxwell said.

"There needs to be a good business case behind it and the IPL is currently doing modelling to work out the viability of different applications, especially with regards to TV rights, where about 90 per cent of the revenue is going to come from.

''Having Australian business involvement in an IPL franchise would be tactically a good move by the IPL. Within 20 years I see the IPL staging its own one-day games and playing in different parts of the world, whether its Hong Kong, Dubai or even the United States or China,'' said Maxwell, who has played a leading role in the development of the new competitions.

''For a club like Souths to get in on the ground floor right now and become an initial stakeholder would be a good move. They obviously see the huge potential of this competition and understand the potential for the IPL to expand beyond the Indian marketplace.'' The teams playing in the IPL are going to be mostly made up of Indian players. However, each side will be allowed to have as many as four foreign players in their side.

A host of international cricket Stars have been contracted by the IPL including Indian players like Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar.

Some of other stars like Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Shoaib Akhtar and Younis Khan from Pakistan along with South African captain Graeme Smith and dashing batsman Herschelle Gibbs will be featured in the tournament.

Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene along with spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan, pacer Lasith Malinga and dasher Sanath Jayasuria has also joined it.


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