LONDON: Indian movie star Shah Rukh Khan added a third Twenty20 franchise team to his collection when he was named as one of the owners in the new eight-team South African Global League on Monday.
The Bollywood leading man expanded his established Knight Riders Brand with the purchase of the Cape Town franchise to add to the teams he already owns in Kolkata and Trinidad.
There was a further link to the Indian Premier League, the lucrative Twenty20 competition that has sparked similar tournaments in the Caribbean, Australia, Bangladesh and Pakistan too.
GMR Sports, the holding company that controls the IPL Delhi Daredevils, purchased the Johannesburg franchise.
Two Pakistan Super League owners, Fawad Rana of the Lahore Qalandar and Javed Afridi of the Peshawar Zalmi, have bought franchises in Durban and Benoni respectively.
Meanwhile Hong Kong businessman Sushil Kumar bought the Bloemfontein franchise, with Dubai´s Ajay Sethi taking up the Port Elizabeth franchise.
Two of the franchises will be South African owned, with businessman Osman Osman now in charge of the Pretoria franchise and Brimstone, an investment company, now having the Stellenbosch franchise as part of its portfolio.
Shah himself was not present at the launch in London, a location that meant the South Africa marquee players attached to each of the eight teams could attend, with the Proteas currently on tour in England.
“We are thrilled by the international mix of owners and the passion and excitement that was clearly demonstrated during the bidding process by them and the marquee players,” said Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat.
The South Africa marquee players are Hashim Amla (Durban), Quinton de Kock (Benoni), AB de Villiers (Pretoria), Faf du Plessis (Stellenbosch), JP Duminy (Cape Town), David Miller (Bloemfontein), Kagiso Rabada (Johannesburg) and Imran Tahir (Port Elizabeth).
Meanwhile the likes of South Africa-born England batsman Kevin Pietersen and former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum are also set to be two of the eight ´international marquee´ players involved.