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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Australian states woo Indian T20 investors

Australian states woo Indian T20 investors

December 02, 2010 17:26 IST

If cars and coal are deemed fine, then so should cricket.

New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria are making precisely this pitch as they woo deep-pocketed Indian investors to buy franchises in Australia's Twenty20 league.

After Cricket Australia (CA) approved private ownership in its expanded Big Bash League in October, Cricket NSW and Cricket Victoria have turned their focus on the game's financial hub and expect Indian industrialists to add cricket to their overseas investment portfolio.

"If Tata (Motors) can acquire Jaguar, if Indian companies can make heavy investment in mining in Australia, why not in Australian cricket?" asked Jamie Stewart, Managing Director of the Commune Sports and Entertainment, which is seeking Indian investment for NSW and Victoria.

"It's going to be a win-win situation for the Indian companies. This is going to be a marriage of entrepreneurial spirit and cricket establishment," the former Australian first class cricketer said in an interview.

"We have already met some 14-15 individuals and the response is pretty good. Most of them have an abiding passion for cricket. We are looking for investors with a passion for the game and the financial resources to meet the investment commitment."

Stewart said the $4 billion Indian Premier League (IPL) had revolutionised the game but the Australian model provided a window of opportunity for Indian industrialists unable to invest in the lucrative competition.

"If you look at IPL, India's top 10 corporate houses -- except Reliance Industries (which owns Mumbai Indians) -- are not represented. NSW and Victoria certainly give them a chance to get involved in Twenty20, which is the fastest growing sport in the world."

"There is a scarcity value to it as well. Beyond IPL, investment options are not manifold. There are lots of guys who rue not taking the plunge in IPL. This is a window of opportunity for them."

Stewart's admiration for the IPL notwithstanding, the Indian extravaganza has become embroiled in legal and political wrangles.

Its high-flying commissioner Lalit Modi has been suspended over financial irregularities and two franchises -- Punjab and Rajasthan -- had their contracts terminated while new entrant Kochi's fate hangs in balance.

Existing franchise owners are not happy either, painting a rather gloomy picture of the league.

Stewart rules out a similar chaos in Australia.

"No one can question the integrity of Cricket Australia and the investors would be given a lot of confidence. It is an entity run by professionals with large level of expertise and experience."

Source:
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