Indian cash to fuel Aussie edition of IPL

Indian corporate cash appears set to make a dent into the Australian cricket market. Australian media reports said Indian investors are poised to grab a share of Australia's revamped Twenty20 competition in what is seen in the country as the biggest shake-up since Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket. Cricket Australia will decide on Friday whether to accept private equity from Indian and other abroad investors as part of the ownership of Australian teams. However, two of Australia's most powerful cricket states, New South Wales and Victoria, have already sold shares to "giant Indian corporations" for around Australian $60 million ($59 million).

It said the outlays are in return for expected profits from an Indian Premier League-style eight-team tournament, mooted to begin in Australia in January 2012. The Australian, which said CA would be counting on Indian millionaires and players to claim a financial windfall from the expanded competition, named Brisbane-based Adani Group and Jay Mehta, co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, as Indian corporates with possible interest in the league.

According to the paper, there were rumours that Gautam Adani, the "10th-richest man in India with estimated personal wealth of $10 billion", was looking at investing in Queensland coal mines and even buying the port of Brisbane. An Australian businessman of Indian origin was quoted as saying that the sort of money the cricket teams were talking about between $5 million and $30m was "very cheap" for these billionaires. Adani was an unsuccessful bidder for an Indian Premier League franchise.

NSW is also believed to have had discussions with billionaire Mehta about investing in the state's cricket. The CA feels that within three years, a window will be cleared in January free of international cricket to permit all Australian stars as well as two high-profile overseas players in each of the eight teams to play in the 'Big Bash'. The paper argued that the Big Bash should be sold into the Indian market, and the presence of Indian players would enhance its value.


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