(GuyanaNewsRoom)According to media reports in Australia, Saudi Arabia is planning to launch the world’s most lucrative Twenty20 cricket tournament.
High-level discussions have begun between the Saudi government and owners of Indian Premier League (IPL) teams.
The IPL is currently the most-watched cricket league in the world, and Saudi Arabia plans to enter the market and make the Kingdom a global cricketing destination.
Previously, Indian players have been banned from participating in overseas T20 tournaments.
Saudi Arabia has invested huge sums in sport development, sponsorship and ownership.
Golf, through the launch of the LIV Golf is an area of growth in the Kingdom that is gaining popularity and bringing the region to greater global awareness.
Football is another sporting avenue being pursued in Saudi Arabia, both through international ownership of English Premier League side Newcastle United, and the development of the domestic league as witnessed by the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo.
It is hoped that cricket could be the next area for investment.
Speaking to Arab News last month, Prince Saud bin Mishal al-Saud, Chairman of the Saudi Cricket Board, said the Kingdom is planning multiple leagues.
He said: “There will be leagues on all levels, not just one league. We’ve developed great relationships with the ICC and the Asian Cricket Council and some successful international cricket boards and big cricketers globally.
“And then we hired experts to help us develop a model of a league. Of course, much infrastructure and development are required, but we’ll announce when it’s time.”
The presence of Indian players in a possible T20 league would virtually guarantee huge audiences and generate new interest in the sport.
IPL remains the dominant league for cricket fans, despite high-profile launches in the UAE and South Africa also attracting star players.
IPL season falls during March and April, and extreme heat is likely prohibitive for a major league scheduled in Saudi Arabia during the summer months.
This would leave October and November as the most likely time for a T20 cricket tournament in the Kingdom, should it get beyond the planning stage. (Arabian Business)