Multan Sultans co-owner Ali Khan Tareen has expressed interest in investing in The Hundred – the England and Wales Cricket Board's new limited-overs tournament.
Tareen co-owns the Sultans in the Pakistan Super League and is eager to invest in the Southern Brave – one of the eight teams in the The Hundred.
“I'm a Hampshire boy who loves Hampshire cricket,” he told ESPNcricinfo. “I see it as a way to benefit the counties, so they get more money. If someone with no connections owns a side, they wouldn't give a hoot about counties. Why would they? Someone like me, who's an actual Hampshire fan, sees the real attraction of external investment as my opportunity to help Hampshire.
The ECB, like Cricket South Africa for the Mzansi Super League, don't necessarily encourage private investment in the franchises. This is not the case in the Indian Premier League, Caribbean Premier League and Global T20 Canada.
“There shouldn't be a case where the teams are sold fully to a random owner. I've heard of problems occurring at the Caribbean Premier League when owners haven't been vetted, as well as the Global T20 in Canada. The ECB cannot afford to have issues like these happen to their league,” added Tareen.
“What I suggest is they find people not to own and run teams, but to contribute financially to them because they care about a team or have connections to that area. Even right now, one person doesn't run the team, a board runs the team. Maybe that one person then gets to sit on the board for a year. They can then help grow the profile of their side and by extension the league in different countries, and leverage local connections. I get that most owners would want to control a side, but this isn't about that.”
KKR keen too
Earlier this week, Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan also expressed interest in investing in The Hundred. The Kolkata franchise currently extends beyond the IPL to the Trinbago Knight Riders in the CPL.
“If you go to Trinidad and Tobago – TKR is a household name, during the season if you walk into a restaurant everyone is wearing a TKR jersey. That's the value that we bring. It has to be a meaningful partnership for us, and it has to be something where the league can also leverage our expertise, otherwise it doesn't make a lot of sense,” added Knight Riders chief executive officer Venky Mysore.
“We'd be very open to evaluating it and would be very keen on it if it came about, but we don't know all the details right now. As and when the ECB are ready, and if they ask us to evaluate it and send us a proposal, we'd look at it very positively and we'd be very keen.”