After the Indian T20 League and Caribbean Premier League, the Knight Riders Group has now bought a stake in USA’s Major League Cricket (MLC) – a franchise-led T20 tournament scheduled to start in 2022.
Owned by Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla along with her husband Jay Mehta, the Knight Riders Group will act as a “consultant” in the running of six-team T20 League.
"In the IPL or the CPL, you own a franchise, and that's all you own and operate", said Team Kolkata CEO and managing director Venky Mysore, “whereas in the case of the MLC, you have a stake in the league." of the Knight Riders.”
The Knight Riders Group was invited by American Cricket Enterprises, which is USA Cricket’s partner in developing the T20 League, and Venky Mysore is eyeing a “long-term investment in American cricket".
"When they invited us, we said we want to take a deep dive into this, and not just have a short-term outlook," said Mysore, reported ESPNcricinfo.
"So, they see us as a consultant in many ways, apart from being a big part of the league. They want us to play a very broad role, to help and assist them with all aspects of cricket in the US,” he added.
Expected to be a city-based competition - like the Indian T20 League - USA’s Major League Cricket will eventually be held across six stadia. However, they will start the tournament in 2022 with three venues in Fort Lauderdale, Dallas, and North Carolina’s Morrisville.
With the tournament schedule already postponed by a year owing to the Covid-19 outbreak, MLC will finally hope to be USA’s first professional T20 League as this is not the first time that USA has tried launching a T20 League in the country.
USA’s very first attempt dates to the start of the millennium in 2005, when cricketers like Mervyn Dillon, Robin Singh and Colin Miller had featured in USA’s ProCricket. However, the tournament fizzled out after just a season.
An American Premier League was in the planning stage in 2008 as well, but it never solidified any further. Apart from that, the United States Cricket Association (USACA) had tried relaunching franchise league in 2012 and 2016, but nothing could materialize.
Feature Image courtesy: AFP / Manjunath Kiran