Dubai owners enter the big league

Published: Sat 9 Sep 2017, 10:18 PM

Last updated: Sun 10 Sep 2017, 12:22 AM

Dubai is not just the venue of choice for the South Africa Global T20 League, in fact, there a closer connection between the city and the League.
Two of the team owners hail from the city, making it a significant presence in the eight-team League. Dubai's Suhail Galadari co-owns the Benoni Zalmi franchise with Javed Afridi, while Channel 2 chairman Ajay Sethi owns the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars. The Khaleej Times are the media partner of the Javed Afridi-owned Peshawar Zalmi, which won the 2017 PSL title after defeating Quetta Gladiators in Lahore in March.
"The world league is going to change the future of this game. It's a great opportunity to be part of the South African cricket circuit," Yahya Kazi, who represents Suhail Galadari, had said, during the launch of the League, in London.
"Both Mr Suhail Galadari and Mr Javed Afridi, who have bought the Benoni franchise, are passionate about cricket and understand the impact it has on all sections of society. The new initiative will help increase global interest in South African cricket, and attract other big sponsors into the game," Kazi added.
Suhail Galadari and Javed Afridi's Benoni Zalmi will be coached by former South African captain Graeme Smith with their marquee Protea being rising star Quinton de Kock. Benoni Zalmi's marquee signing is England's Jason Roy. The squad also consists of Pakistan internationals Wahad Riaz, Umar Akmal and Mohammad Nawaz. The Benon Zalmi's home ground will be Willowmoore Park.
Meanwhile, Ajay Sethi's Nelson Mandela Bay Stars, which made international sporting history when it became the first team in the world to bear the name of the greatest South African of them all, will be coached by former South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher. Leg spinner Imran Tahir is their marquee Protea, while T20 globetrotter Kevin Pietersen, the Englishman with South African roots, is their marquee international.
The two team owners have entered the big league, so to speak, and they will be rubbing shoulders with top Indian Premier League (IPL) team owners like Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and the GMR Group. Shah Rukh Khan owns the Kolkata Knight Riders, apart from the Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League, while Preity Zinta became the new owner of the Stellenbosch Monarchs. The GMR Group are the owners of the Delhi Daredevils.

By James Jose

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