Expansion of Twenty20 February 8, 2010

Rajasthan reveal global team deal

  shares 25

Plans to create the first global sport alliance were revealed at Lord's with Rajasthan Royals leading the innovation as they joined forces with Hampshire, Cape Cobras and Trinidad and Tobago to form a worldwide Twenty20 brand. The Australian domestic Twenty20 champions, Victoria Bushrangers, are also believed to be close to confirming their participation in the venture.

Shane Warne, captain of the Rajasthan Royals and a former captain of Hampshire and Victoria, was in London to announce the plans alongside Manoj Badale, the London-based businessman who part-owns the IPL franchise, and officials from Hampshire, the Cobras and Trinidad and Tobago.

All of the teams within the deal will henceforth carry the "Royals" moniker, which means that Hampshire Royals (formerly Hawks) will be treading on the toes of their Twenty20 Cup rivals, Worcestershire Royals. The two counties are understood to have already been in discussions.

"This is a major innovation in world sport, and it represents a great opportunity for the clubs," Badale said, "but also an opportunity for fans and sponsors to be part of something totally unique and exciting. The response that we have had from fans overseas over the past two seasons has convinced us to expand our ambition."

The four other domestic teams involved in the tie-up will now play under the Royals name in their respective Twenty20 tournaments and the aim is to grow the brand around the world to give them almost year-round coverage. For the players it could create the chance to ply their trade in the other domestic competitions and opens up the option of talent-sharing between sides.

The concept is still in the planning stage, and the finer details are yet to be firmed up, including Victoria's participation. But Badale confirmed that the intention would ultimately be to roll out the brand to other existing Twenty20 markets in New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

"I'm so excited by this," Warne said. "It would be nice to be 20 years younger. I am delighted to be part of this new innovation, and I am excited by what we can achieve, given what we have already achieved. Yet again, the Royals are leading the way. It is bonus that clubs with which I have such deep affection are so involved."

Organisers said they were looking to stage the first Royals 2020 "festival" in July during a window in the English season, with Lord's - the venue for the launch - a possible base. Matches in either Australia or South Africa during the Christmas holiday period would then follow in December, with a third tournament earmarked for the Middle East or Jaipur in early 2011. This prospect will invariably lead to more concerns about player burn-out, amid overcrowded schedules.

"I think at international level there's no doubt that they've got scheduling problems," said Sean Morris, the chief executive of Rajasthan. "But I think that Twenty20 cricket is becoming more and more important to the international player. He plays very little of it at the moment, and we want to fit alongside the domestic calendars. There are one or two windows in that, and we don't want to conflict and compete with them."

"When we talk of festivals, it's about the fun aspect, the enjoyment of Twenty20 cricket," said Warne. "As far as the cricket goes, if I'm bowling to Dimitri Mascarenhas and he's playing for Hampshire, I promise you it will be competitive. These will be competitive games that are fun to watch, with a festival atmosphere. Whether it's with cheerleaders, fireworks or music, it's all about the fans having fun."

"The opportunity to be part of a global brand is a unique one across all sports," added Morris. "And it will enable us to take advantage of the changing landscape in cricket, not least in the areas of marketing and talent development."

"There are plenty potential pitfalls," said Badale. "Firstly, we are going to have to ensure we don't fall outside the regulations of the domestic leagues and the cricket boards. Secondly, we have to try not to do too much too quickly. People keep asking us "What is it?" "It's" pretty simple. We're going to have the same kit, over time we're going to have the same name, and we're going to play each other a couple times a year. There are risks, but business is all about risk and return."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • saifkl on February 10, 2010, 2:29 GMT

    Pretty soon there wil be so much cricket that one would not even know the point of it. It will get boring and cricket will lose its attraction. All that will be left will be "cricket shows" instead of meaningful matches.

  • MartinAmber on February 9, 2010, 23:50 GMT

    By far Warne's worst idea since the diuretic, in my view. What isn't pointed out in this article is that Warne would also like international 50-over cricket to be stopped, except for the World Cup. Doesn't matter how much you love and respect Warne or appreciate T20, that could only be the view of a man who has won three World Cups already and now just wants to milk another cash cow in between poker tournaments and lucrative commentary appearances. Yeah, let's have a World Cup every 4 years in a format no-one would ever play. Complete idiocy.

  • on February 9, 2010, 18:08 GMT

    Another nail in the Test coffin?

  • broomstix on February 9, 2010, 6:48 GMT

    Royal Bushrangers, Royal Cobras...sounds cool

  • Rajesh. on February 9, 2010, 6:40 GMT

    World Cricket and various cricket boards are one confused set of people.... One one hand they bemoan the decline in interests in Test Cricket and to an extent in One-Dayer's as well but on the other hand they try to squeeze in more & more of T20 matches in whatever break that's available now on the international calender. Overdose is an understatement. It's not that I dislike T20 but when are the people that matter going to strike a balance between the different formats of the game.....? Or at least seen to be making an effort to strike a balance

  • on February 9, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    intersting concept but lets see the implementation before reading much into it

  • on February 9, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    Interesting idea - but I doubt if the brains inside IPL will approve of this...

  • subela on February 9, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    As it is cricketers are burning out due to intense scheduling, international players barely ever get a chance to play in the domestic circuit. Before IPL started they had scheduling problems, and NOW Mr Sean Morris has found "There are one or two windows in that, and we don't want to conflict and compete with them".

    If it were up to him, the entire year would be free, cause he doesn't have to play day in and day out. Its the cricketers who burn out.

    On another note, do the viewers really want to watch more domestic T20? IPL was pushing the limit, but to have these exibhition matches once or twice a year between the same teams, who'll watch them?

    It seems like International cricket will soon become more along the lines of Soccer, where the only main event is the WC ODI/T20 every 4 years. If so, what about tests?

  • subela on February 9, 2010, 2:50 GMT

    "There are risks, but business is all about risk and return."

    I thought cricket was a sport!

    Sounds more like "that all the returns are for business man and all the risks are for cricket itself".

  • yorvik on February 9, 2010, 1:17 GMT

    Great news for us in Yorkshire! Hopefully Hampshire will name six Indians and four from Trinidad this summer and get themselves banned. Yorkshire got banned a year ago for playing a 17yr old kid who learn't his trade in Barnsley. If the ECB and ICC are serious about developing and spreading the game they will scupper unholy alliances before they begin.

  • saifkl on February 10, 2010, 2:29 GMT

    Pretty soon there wil be so much cricket that one would not even know the point of it. It will get boring and cricket will lose its attraction. All that will be left will be "cricket shows" instead of meaningful matches.

  • MartinAmber on February 9, 2010, 23:50 GMT

    By far Warne's worst idea since the diuretic, in my view. What isn't pointed out in this article is that Warne would also like international 50-over cricket to be stopped, except for the World Cup. Doesn't matter how much you love and respect Warne or appreciate T20, that could only be the view of a man who has won three World Cups already and now just wants to milk another cash cow in between poker tournaments and lucrative commentary appearances. Yeah, let's have a World Cup every 4 years in a format no-one would ever play. Complete idiocy.

  • on February 9, 2010, 18:08 GMT

    Another nail in the Test coffin?

  • broomstix on February 9, 2010, 6:48 GMT

    Royal Bushrangers, Royal Cobras...sounds cool

  • Rajesh. on February 9, 2010, 6:40 GMT

    World Cricket and various cricket boards are one confused set of people.... One one hand they bemoan the decline in interests in Test Cricket and to an extent in One-Dayer's as well but on the other hand they try to squeeze in more & more of T20 matches in whatever break that's available now on the international calender. Overdose is an understatement. It's not that I dislike T20 but when are the people that matter going to strike a balance between the different formats of the game.....? Or at least seen to be making an effort to strike a balance

  • on February 9, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    intersting concept but lets see the implementation before reading much into it

  • on February 9, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    Interesting idea - but I doubt if the brains inside IPL will approve of this...

  • subela on February 9, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    As it is cricketers are burning out due to intense scheduling, international players barely ever get a chance to play in the domestic circuit. Before IPL started they had scheduling problems, and NOW Mr Sean Morris has found "There are one or two windows in that, and we don't want to conflict and compete with them".

    If it were up to him, the entire year would be free, cause he doesn't have to play day in and day out. Its the cricketers who burn out.

    On another note, do the viewers really want to watch more domestic T20? IPL was pushing the limit, but to have these exibhition matches once or twice a year between the same teams, who'll watch them?

    It seems like International cricket will soon become more along the lines of Soccer, where the only main event is the WC ODI/T20 every 4 years. If so, what about tests?

  • subela on February 9, 2010, 2:50 GMT

    "There are risks, but business is all about risk and return."

    I thought cricket was a sport!

    Sounds more like "that all the returns are for business man and all the risks are for cricket itself".

  • yorvik on February 9, 2010, 1:17 GMT

    Great news for us in Yorkshire! Hopefully Hampshire will name six Indians and four from Trinidad this summer and get themselves banned. Yorkshire got banned a year ago for playing a 17yr old kid who learn't his trade in Barnsley. If the ECB and ICC are serious about developing and spreading the game they will scupper unholy alliances before they begin.

  • ArizKhan on February 9, 2010, 0:48 GMT

    Brilliant!!!!As a Trini, I am really excited about this idea and what it could do for Trinidad's cricket. It is a great opportunity for the cricketers and fans alike.

  • zodiac123 on February 9, 2010, 0:24 GMT

    This looks interesting, but I kinda agree with Prateek. What happens when more than one 'Royals' team qualifies for a tournament like a Champions League? But the idea of talent sharing is very interesting because it allows players to get to play in different conditions.

  • aditya.chv on February 8, 2010, 20:30 GMT

    I agree with Prateek, it seems unfeasible at the moment various other IPL franchises will raise a hue and cry about it and any of the payers are not contractually obligated to a team will not play for another team unless they get more money! and it is a distinct possibility that we have 4-5 "royals" teams in the champions league, that would make a mockery of the whole system.. changing the names is a bit too far!

    Or is it for players like warnie to make more money by playing in all leagues in the world !

    Unless major changes are made this as it sounds will turn out to be a huge mistake!

  • on February 8, 2010, 18:59 GMT

    Does it not defeat the object of the champions league if Victoria, Hampshire, Cape cobras and Rajasthan Royals all played in the Champions league who would play for who??? I thinks its more geared to the Royals building a talented and big squad at a lower cost for the IPL- shrewd business. I would personally rather see fewer but higher standard 20/20 matches with as many international players available for these tournaments.

  • shrastogi on February 8, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    Interesting. Global brands have consistency. So in different countries some benchmark performnace would be needed irrespective of the fact that local conditions may differ. Is that possible for a sports team brand ? Another factor is that a single global communication for brand building which uses optimum resources may not work. Perhaps the idea is workable as cricket is played in fewer countries and peak season varies from country to country. Has anyone tried this in soccer ? Implementation would be key.

  • Munkeymomo on February 8, 2010, 17:13 GMT

    What a great idea! Warne's still got a lot to give cricket it seems after a shimmering career already. This sounds like it could be leading in a very exciting direction in my opinion. Good on all involved for this innovative thinking.

  • Laird on February 8, 2010, 17:13 GMT

    I like this idea! unite the sport across countries, it will allow some of the emerging international players to experience the different climates/surfaces, which can only be good for the sport, although the questions prateek raises are valid!

  • dragqueen1 on February 8, 2010, 17:12 GMT

    talent sharing? what this means in reality is that the various "Royals" will be virtually the same no matter whereever they play, sounds more like talent stiffling to me

  • on February 8, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    So Worcestershire have to change their name now then?

  • on February 8, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    This is an awesome idea from Warne and co. It wil not only help in pushing the brand name of ROYALS but will also help cricket in being a professional sport.

  • NeilSidd on February 8, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    I don't want to sound like a party pooper, but a cynic would certainly call this venture another blunder along the lines of the Stanford fiasco. T20 seems to attract only the greedy - there is great potential for corruption where teams get together in alliances like this. Mr Warne's inolvement does not surprise me at all - He's only in it for the money.

  • Sayedgee on February 8, 2010, 16:35 GMT

    And what exactly does this mean? "global alliance of teams", teams are on the field to compete not to from alliances. Any gimmick to make a quick buck! Once again this T20, IPL crap is going too far. Its nothing more than galli's form of "gulli danda".

  • Thunee_man_Naidoo on February 8, 2010, 16:15 GMT

    I've been in full support of The T20 world cup, The IPL, and the champions league T20, it's good for the growing support of the game and for domestic cricket, but seriouslythis is taking it too far.

  • on February 8, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    Pretty interesting. I would be waiting for more details but with 'talent sharing' would it mean that all these 'Royals' teams might look quite similar? In a tournament like Champions League, will these teams sit together and distribute players among themselves if more than one 'Royals' qualify? Will they all wear similar uniform now if sponsors are going to be same and its one single brand?

  • SevenCostanza on February 8, 2010, 15:57 GMT

    Once again, business drives sport. Good for Warne, didn't know he was so shrewd without ball in hand.

    Raj

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  • SevenCostanza on February 8, 2010, 15:57 GMT

    Once again, business drives sport. Good for Warne, didn't know he was so shrewd without ball in hand.

    Raj

  • on February 8, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    Pretty interesting. I would be waiting for more details but with 'talent sharing' would it mean that all these 'Royals' teams might look quite similar? In a tournament like Champions League, will these teams sit together and distribute players among themselves if more than one 'Royals' qualify? Will they all wear similar uniform now if sponsors are going to be same and its one single brand?

  • Thunee_man_Naidoo on February 8, 2010, 16:15 GMT

    I've been in full support of The T20 world cup, The IPL, and the champions league T20, it's good for the growing support of the game and for domestic cricket, but seriouslythis is taking it too far.

  • Sayedgee on February 8, 2010, 16:35 GMT

    And what exactly does this mean? "global alliance of teams", teams are on the field to compete not to from alliances. Any gimmick to make a quick buck! Once again this T20, IPL crap is going too far. Its nothing more than galli's form of "gulli danda".

  • NeilSidd on February 8, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    I don't want to sound like a party pooper, but a cynic would certainly call this venture another blunder along the lines of the Stanford fiasco. T20 seems to attract only the greedy - there is great potential for corruption where teams get together in alliances like this. Mr Warne's inolvement does not surprise me at all - He's only in it for the money.

  • on February 8, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    This is an awesome idea from Warne and co. It wil not only help in pushing the brand name of ROYALS but will also help cricket in being a professional sport.

  • on February 8, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    So Worcestershire have to change their name now then?

  • dragqueen1 on February 8, 2010, 17:12 GMT

    talent sharing? what this means in reality is that the various "Royals" will be virtually the same no matter whereever they play, sounds more like talent stiffling to me

  • Laird on February 8, 2010, 17:13 GMT

    I like this idea! unite the sport across countries, it will allow some of the emerging international players to experience the different climates/surfaces, which can only be good for the sport, although the questions prateek raises are valid!

  • Munkeymomo on February 8, 2010, 17:13 GMT

    What a great idea! Warne's still got a lot to give cricket it seems after a shimmering career already. This sounds like it could be leading in a very exciting direction in my opinion. Good on all involved for this innovative thinking.