Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna
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Krish Persaud and Manish Patel, the American-based owners of Jamaica Tallawahs and Barbados Tridents respectively, have become franchise owners in the 24-team Minor League Cricket T20 franchise competition in the USA. A list of the franchise owners was released by USA Cricket over the weekend and also featured former USA and India internationals among other franchise owners, for a league whose proposed launch has been pushed back to 2021 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Persaud, whose cricket business operations are based at the Broward County Stadium in Lauderhill, Florida which has hosted numerous T20Is since 2010, was named as the owner of the Fort Lauderdale Lions franchise. Patel, who is based in Dallas, Texas, and previously owned Jamaica Tallawahs when they won the CPL in 2016 in addition to his current ownership of the reigning CPL champion Tridents franchise, was revealed as the owner of the Austin Athletics in the Texas state capital.
Former India pace bowler Raj Ghai who played six ODIs from 1984 to 1986 before relocating to San Diego, California, has been named as part of the ownership group of the San Diego Surf Riders. Another notable entry is former USA offspinner Abhimanyu Rajp, who last played for USA in 2013 and is listed as co-owner of the Los Angeles-based SoCal Lashings franchise.
There are also several former USA Cricket Association administrators who have purchased a stake in various franchises. Nabeel Ahmed, the former vice president and interim chief executive of USACA - prior to USACA's expulsion by the ICC in 2017 - has been announced as the owner of the Michigan Cricket Stars. Former USACA Central East regional chairman Khurram Syed is a co-owner of the Chicago Blasters. Gangaram Singh, former South West regional representative on the USACA board, is a co-owner along with Ghai for the Surf Riders. Lovkesh Kalia, former Central West board member at USACA, is the owner of the Irving Mustangs in suburban Dallas.
The 24-team Minor League Cricket competition was due to launch in June this year, but USA Cricket recently announced that it has been pushed back to next spring. However, tournament organisers have stated that they will conduct a player draft on Saturday, August 22 with the intention of staging exhibition matches during September and October in various zones.