Megastar Shah Rukh Khan grows empire in SA

Shah Rukh Khan (Gallo Images)
Shah Rukh Khan (Gallo Images)

London - The T20 Global League in South Africa this year is hoping to attract some big names on the field, but it also has its dose of star power off of it. 

Of the eight new franchise owners unveiled in London on Monday, two are South African, two are Indian, two are Pakistani while one is based on Hong Kong and another in Dubai. 

Undoubtedly, the biggest name among the new owners is Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan

The 51-year-old already owns the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League as well as the Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League. 

Khan had been strongly linked to a South African franchise and on Monday he was confirmed as the new owner of the Cape Town-based side. 

While he was not present at the London launch, a video presentation of Khan addressing those in attendance was played and he confirmed that his new side would be called the Cape Town Knight Riders

How much of an overlap there will be between the two existing Knight Riders franchises and the new Cape Town Knight Riders remains to be seen, but this is certainly another step towards private ownership tightening its grip on global cricket. 

Due to the player draft system - the T20 Global League will have its first one on Saturday, August 19 - franchises cannot guarantee securing a player, even if that player represents the franchise in another competition. 

Venky Mysore, managing director of the KKR, was in London in place of Khan and he helped explain the link between the three Knight Riders franchises. 

"The intention is always to expand and grow," he said.

"One of the ways that it works well is that we have some level of commonality between each team, whether it is at a player level or a support staff level.

"But each league has its own system of drafts and auctions ... so we'll have to see whether some of the stars align for us to get something out of that."

In the current climate it is highly possible for a player to represent one franchise in one league and then play against what is effectively the same franchise in another league. 

According to Mysore, this is happening already and it is not cause for concern.

"That's okay. It's the way the leagues are set up," he said.

"Each player is professional enough to do the best he can for his respective team. I don't know whether that complete alignment would ever be possible from a practical matter.

"You just have to go with what you have and do the best you can."

The Cape Town Knight Riders have JP Duminy as their Proteas marquee player, and he was asked about what it would be like to play for an owner of Khan's celebrity status.

"I've had some involvement with Shah Rukh Khan and he's a global superstar," Duminy said.

"For me to be a part of his team is a great honour and I certainly look forward to the involvement that I will have. I'm pretty comfortable with him signing more autographs than I do."

*Sport24 journalist Lloyd Burnard is attending the launch as a guest of CSA...

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