Another Indian Premier League (IPL) team has taken up control of a Caribbean Premier League (CPL) franchise with the announcement yesterday that the King's XI Punjab has taken control of the St. Lucia Zouks.
This was revealed by Chief Operations Officer (COO) of CPL Pete Russell at the Sandals Grande St. Lucia Resort and Spa in Gros Islet. King's XI Punjab which has played every edition of the 11 IPL seasons will now follow in the footsteps of the owners of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) who purchased the T&T Red Steel three years ago.
Mohit Burman owner of the franchise and his Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Satish Menon both made the long journey from India to St. Lucia for the launch of the ownership and is now looking forward to taking the team to better days.
The Zouks have not enjoyed the best of results over the past few seasons but with the added investment now they will be exposed to better players and support staff. According to Burman: "We were encouraged by what we saw happen in Trinidad with the KKR and told ourselves that as we are looking to expand this will be workable.
"We are a strong franchise and we have played every edition of the IPL. We will bring a lot of expertise to the set up at the Zouks and we are hoping to really see and improvement and to assist in the overall development of CPL and West Indies."
Asked if there will be a change in the name of the team Burman said: "I did have a discussion with the Prime Minister (Allan Chastanet) and I told him we can look at it and if for sentimental reasons and support we need to leave the name we will. However, we have not made a decision on that yet and we will see what is the best fit as we move forward."
Chastanet who was present at the event said this was great news for his country and he is looking beyond cricket to strengthen ties with India. "I have told Mohit that we will be looking beyond cricket and looking to better ties with India.
"We are grateful for what he has done in terms of his investment in our cricket team and we are looking forward to a number of St. Lucien's benefiting. The CPL has been brilliant for the development of our country as it markets us to the world and we want to continue supporting them."
Russell said this is fantastic news for the tournament as they are working hard to take it to the next level. "With this investment, it always helps but it does not mean that we will not be investing significantly still in the tournament. The people of this lovely country will see CPL doing more for them now with this new development.
"We are happy to have Mohit and his group on board and I am sure they will do well for the team and the tournament. We at CPL will continue working hard to market this tournament and bring more to the people of the Caribbean"
Russell said the team could have been sold last year but CPL was waiting for the right owners to come along. "We could have sold the team last year but we adsorbed the expenses and waited for the right owners and now that moment has come."
Reporter: Vinode Mamchan