Dubai: Reliance Industries Limited, owners of Mumbai Indians - the most successful franchise in Indian Premier League - will be acquiring their first overseas franchise cricket team in the Emirates Cricket Board’s upcoming UAE T20 League.
Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Ltd (RSBVL), a subsidiary of the group, will be the owners, according to a ECB press release. The league will feature six franchise teams competing in a 34-match event for the initial years and will involve some of the biggest names in world cricket and provide a platform and exposure to upcoming young cricketers.
Khalid Al Zarooni, chairman of the UAE T20 League and vice chairman of ECB, said that RIL’s investment in UAE T20 League demonstrates the confidence of the corporate industry in UAE’s vision and ability to deliver a world class cricket event.
“We aim to transform cricket in the UAE through the UAE T20 League. Our wider plan includes expansion of cricket through various development programmes being conducted in UAE by the league franchisees including talent hunts, coaching, and training by some of the best in the business,” says Zarooni.
Commenting on the occasion, Nita Ambani, co-owner of Mumbai Indians said: “With great pride and joy, we take our Mumbai Indians brand of fearless cricket to a new geography. We are thankful to our fans, both in India and overseas, for supporting MI wholeheartedly. I look forward to strengthening and further expanding our global fanbase, and having a longer engagement with them through this new League.
‘‘While Mumbai Indians will continue to remain at the heart of our cricket operations, the popularity of global T20 leagues and attractiveness of the UAE market offer a unique opportunity for us to further unlock the value of our sports management expertise. It also allows us a platform to develop young international talent and share best practices both on and off the field.”
Akash Ambani, owner of Mumbai Indians, said in a statement: “We are extremely proud to have created a global franchise in Mumbai Indians, integrated with high values and ethos and our contribution to the Indian cricket ecosystem. We are equally confident of shaping another successful brand in the UAE and bring in our experiences to benefits the growth of cricket in the UAE.”
Mubashshir Usmani, General Secretary ECB said: “The trust being shown by prominent business houses in the UAE T20 League is extremely encouraging. We are pleased with RIL’s association with the League as a franchise team owner. Having seen the professionalism in the operations of Mumbai Indians in the IPL, their success in putting together the most successful team in franchise cricket and the passion with which they pursue their goals, we are very confident that this association will be mutually beneficial for both RIL and the League and will support cricket development in UAE.”