Indian film personality Preity Zinta has been unveiled as the new owner of the Stellenbosch Monarchs, one of eight franchises in South Africa’s T20 Global League. Zinta will head the Paarl-based franchise, adding to her responsibilities as co-owner of the Indian Premier League franchise Kings XI Punjab.
Zinta’s acquisition means all the eight teams in the competition are now sold, putting an end to concerns around the franchise ownership, which had lingered on since Mushtaq Brey’s Brimstone withdrew from the enterprise because of the “risks and benefits” of investment potentially not serving the stakeholders.
At Cricket South Africa’s tournament launch in June, Brimstone was named as the owner of the franchise but Brey subsequently had reservations about being presented as the frontman for the consortium during the launch, given that so many questions around the potential acquisition remained unanswered.
Brimstone’s withdrawal and Zinta’s arrival means Cricket South Africa’s initial target of having four local owners for the competition has been further scuppered. Only Osman Osman – owner of the Pretoria Maverics – remains as one. Owners of two IPL teams (Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils) and Pakistan Super League sides (Peshawar Zalmi and Lahore Qalandars) remain part of the T20GL family and will be able to fall back on existing business structures as they look to find their foothold in the South African market.
Zinta, who will visit South Africa in the coming week, expressed optimism following her latest acquistion. “I would like to compliment and thank Haroon Lorgat from Cricket South Africa for his unrelenting persistence, passion and belief in the T20 Global league which inspired me to come on board,” she said. “I firmly believe that 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.”I hope the people of the winelands 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.”
Welcoming Zinta on board, CSA Chief Executive Lorgat said: “I am extremely proud to announce and warmly welcome Preity Zinta to South Africa and the T20 Global League family. The introduction of a Bollywood star like Preity Zinta speaks volumes for the T20 Global League and finalizes an eminent and enviable group of owners. Her experience and stardom will add value to the T20GL. It pays to work diligently and to be patient when setting up a League of the magnitude we envisage.”
Zinta’s Stellenbosch franchise, led by South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, will begin their GLT20 campaign at home (Boland Park) against Joburg Giants on November 4. The inaugural edition of the T20 league will run from November 3 to December 16.