Indian investors eye stake in Australian T20 sides

Melbourne: Keen to cash in on the Twenty20 craze, Indian investors are now showing interest in buying stakes in Australian sides -- New South Wales and Victoria Bushrangers.

According to a newspaper, both NSW and Victoria have different four-man consortia from India willing to pay millions of dollars to take a minority share-holding in the Sydney and Melbourne teams.

The move will, however, depend on whether Cricket Australia approves private ownership for an expanded eight-team competition at a board meeting tomorrow, which will finalise the structure of the competition. Following the super success of the Indian Premier League, CA has advanced its plans by a year to begin a new city-based competition in 12 months.

Six teams will be based in the state capital cities, with two new licenses yet to be granted. "One of them has USD 5 million read to go now with more to come," a senior cricket figure was quoted as saying.

State associations would remain in charge of all existing teams regardless of the ownership structure, but CA fears that having private ownership may do more harm than good.

Quite a few of them are afraid that enormous amount of money pumped into some teams by private owners may result in a lop-sided competition.

"It`s one of the big turning points in Australian cricket history," a CA spokesman said, claiming that chief executive James Sutherland believes "it`s as big, possibly bigger than the (Kerry) Packer moment. It`s important to get it right."

"It was also suggested that Victoria and NSW should not be allowed to take part in the ownership debate as they have quite a few financial backers. "The detail is comprehensive and the detail is complicated," the CA spokesman said.

"There is going to be a lot discussed including the operating model, business model and private ownership, what role does it play, what the right timing is and the like."


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