Reliance Owned Mumbai Indians come to the US with an MLC franchise â€“ MI New York
Harmeet Singh made history as the first pick of the Major League Cricket (MLC) draft as the six MLC franchises selected their domestic players and announced big international signings for the inaugural T20 franchise league in the USA.
Singh, a 30-year-old all-rounder who bowls left-arm off spin, was selected by the Seattle Orcas as the six franchises converged at Space Center Houston on Sunday night to make their picks.
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Singh has played in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and was on the India U-19 squad that won the 2012 World Cup, along with leading the Seattle Thunderbolts to the 2022 Minor League Cricket championship.
â€œIâ€™m really excited to be here,â€ Singh said. â€œAnd also nervous at the same time. I played in Seattle in the Minor League. Now Major League Cricket. It canâ€™t get better for me.â€
Six MLC teams â€“ representing Texas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. â€“ selected nine domestic cricketers at the draft, according to an MLC release.
Former Australia one-day international captain Aaron Finch and Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis will join San Francisco, South Africa fast bowler Anrich Nortje and Sri Lanka legbreak bowler Wanindu Hasaranga will play for Washington and former South Africa captain and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock as well as hard-hitting Australian all-arounder Mitchell Marsh signed for Seattle.
The domestic draft Sunday night consisted of nine rounds of selections from players who are in the domestic player pool, including 16 past or present USA National Team players.
Washington selected wicketkeeper Andries Gous with the second pick. Gous recently played in Abu Dhabiâ€™s T10 league. MI New York selected USA international batter Steven Taylor with the third pick, San Francisco selected former New Zealand international and batsman Corey Anderson fourth, Los Angeles Knight Riders selected star USA Cricket bowler Ali Khan and Texas picked fast bowler Rusty Theron, who has played for multiple IPL teams.
MLCâ€™s Dallas-based team announced their team name, Texas Super Kings, along with the team coach and domestic drafted players, following the first MLC draft.
Texas Super Kings also announced their partnership with Chennai Super Kings, an Indian Premier League franchise cricket team based in Chennai, India, who will bring operational expertise and help Texas compete on the field.
The Texas Super Kingsâ€™ player roster features top domestic cricketers drafted on Sunday, including Rusty Theron, Calvin Savage, Lahiru Milantha, Milind Kumar, Sami Aslam, Cameron Stevenson, Cody Chetty, Zia Shahzad and Saiteja Mukkamalla.
The team will be led by coach Stephen Fleming. Fleming is a former captain of the New Zealand national cricket team and head coach of Indian Premier League team Chennai Super Kings. He played in the first-ever Twenty20 international to be staged as captain of the New Zealand team in 2005.
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Texans Anurag Jain, partner with Perot Jain and chairman of Access Healthcare, and Ross Perot Jr., chairman of the Perot Group, were among the investors in a Series A funding round that will help MLC build facilities across the country.
â€œCricket is the second most popular sport in the world with a global fan base of around 2.5 billion followers, but there has not been an opportunity for the sport to grow in the US,â€ says Anurag Jain, co-owner of the MLC Texas Super Kings. â€œWe look forward to having a professional team in Texas for the passionate local cricket community to root for and to introduce the sport to new fans across the country.â€
Mumbai Indians, owned by Reliance Industries Ltd, is also expanding into the United States with an MLC franchise â€“ MI New York. MI New York unveiled its name and logo on Sunday with a graphic featuring the iconic MI logo followed by NY, featured on the New York skyline.
Nita Ambani, owner of the Mumbai Indians, said, â€œI am thrilled to welcome our New York franchise to the growing MI Family! With our entry into the first T20 franchise cricket league in the US, I hope we are able to establish Mumbai Indians as a global brand of fearless and entertaining cricket! This is another new beginning for MI and I look forward to the exciting journey ahead.â€
â€œNew York City and the broader Tri-State area is home to countless cricket fans who now have a team to call their own. We are delighted to be able to bring the Mumbai Indians stateside to such an iconic global city,â€ said Vijay Srinivasan, co-founder, Major League Cricket. â€œWe canâ€™t wait to see MI New York take the field this summer in the historic first season of Major League Cricket.â€
Six teams will take the pitch for the first time at a new MLC venue built in Grand Prairie, Texas. The season is set to open July 13 and end with the first MLC championship final to take place on July 30.