Bollywood actress and Indian Premier League (IPL) Kings XI Punjab team co-owner Preity Zinta, will be the owner of the Stellenbosch franchise in the South Africa T20 Global League.
Zinta has stepped in as an owner of Stellenbosch, the only franchise that did not have a private owner, after South African investment corporation Brimstone pulled out of their deal last month. Following Zinta’s decision, the T20 Global League will have three IPL owners with Cape Town Knight Riders being owned by Shah Rukh Khan, who owns Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL and Jo’burg Giants bought by GMR group that own Delhi Daredevils.
Speaking to Gulf News from Mumbai about her decision, Zinta said: “This was not a planned move so I just went with the flow. Some things are meant to be. It also helped that Shah Rukh and Delhi were also there and that the overall numbers were working out.”
What would Zinta carry from the IPL to the T20 Global League? “Nothing can stop sports when it’s at its finest and it has the power to transform lives. Who knows after this tournament South Africa might win a World Cup. It will be a game changer for younger talent and for cricket in the country,” remarked Zinta.
When asked if she expected the T20 Global League to create a similar impact like the IPL, Zinta said: “I believe this is the most exciting time for young South African cricketing talent. This league will give them an opportunity to take the leap from becoming the best in the country to becoming the best in the World.”
When Gulf News contacted Cricket SA chief executive Haroon Lorgat in Johannesburg, he said: “We are excited and we welcome Preity Zinta into our T20 league. It is indeed exciting times for us. Zinta joining the league finalises an eminent and enviable group of owners.”
With so many Indian owners is he expecting the T20 Global League’s viewership to be high? “There has always been a special relationship between South Africa and India,” Lorgat said. “In fact, the relationship extends beyond sports as the people like each other. So under these circumstances to have three owners from the IPL is indeed prestigious.”
Will Bollywood glamour coming into SA also make it special? “To have high profile owners like Shah Rukh Khan and Preity is a big boost for us and we believe their presence will create a huge impact,” said Lorgat.
Zinta said she would look to turn the Paarl based franchise into a winner. “I hope the people of this area of South Africa have an unrivalled fan experience during this tournament and believe together we will make our team and stadium something very special,” announced Zinta.
Faf du Plessis, who is the World XI captain that will play against Pakistan and is flying into Dubai for the training sessions from tomorrow. is the Marquee player for the Stellenbosch franchise,
“I’m very excited to see that Preity Zinta has come on board. I have heard from my team mates that she is very good to work with, so I’m looking forward to working with her and seeing how she impacts our team space. She is also very passionate about the sport and I am sure local fans will have an awesome time at Boland Park,” commented du Plessis.
The Stellenbosch team will play their first home game on November at Boland Park, Paarl against the Jo’burg Giants.