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Delhi Capitals owners latest to acquire UAE T20 League team

Joins owners of Mumbai Indians and Manchester United FC in owning teams in the upcoming tournament

Kiran Kumar Grandhi (L) hopes to "infinitely excite cricket aficionados" at the UAE T20 League  •  BCCI

Kiran Kumar Grandhi (L) hopes to "infinitely excite cricket aficionados" at the UAE T20 League  •  BCCI

GMR Group, part-owners of the Delhi Capitals franchise in the IPL, have become the third group to acquire a team at the upcoming UAE T20 League, expected to start later this year, after Lancer Capital, the owners of Manchester United Football Club, and Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Limited, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited, the owners of Mumbai Indians.
"Our team has 14-seasons' experience in managing the franchise process, through our Delhi Capital team's involvement in the Indian Premier League (IPL), and we will integrate the same elements of these processes into UAE T20 League and help establish it as a premier and an integral part of the global cricket ecosystem," GM Rao, group chairman of the GMR Group, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Kiran Kumar Grandhi, the corporate chairman of the group, said, "UAE has a world-class niche of cross-cultural individuals with a big cricket fan following and excellent cricket infrastructure. We, at GMR Group, based on our years of experience in the IPL will harness to create a thriving cricket environment to budding players which will infinitely excite cricket aficionados.
"From our solid supportive management, we will bring best practices, processes, top-notch coaches, players, and support staff to have an unparalleled professional team."
The six-team league has been sanctioned by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), and the plan originally was to host the first edition by the end of March this year. Though that isn't likely at this stage, the ECB said in the statement that it "remains well on track to be played in 2022 where senior committee members are encouraged by the enormous interest shown from a number of high-profile individuals and well-established corporates from across the world".
Khalid Al Zarooni, the ECB vice-chairman, said, "The standing of this League, across the cricketing world, is vitally important to us, and we have aligned ourselves with partners that share the same values toward the game; holding its spirit, integrity and longevity to the highest regard."
The ECB is also hoping that the league, once it takes flight, helps improve the playing standards within the UAE as well. "At its heart, the UAE T20 League will provide this opportunity for players within the Associate structure to play alongside world-class internationals and be provided with a much-needed opportunity to showcase their skills to a wider audience," ECB general secretary Mubashshir Usmani said.
While the owners of Manchester United FC and Mumbai Indians are already team owners in the league, the owners of the Knight Riders franchise (Kolkata and Trinbago teams) are also understood to be interested in taking over one of the teams. The statement said that the "remaining franchise partnerships" would be announced shortly.