The big story that has emerged from the Caribbean Premier League this week has been the purchase of the Barbados Tridents by Vijay Mallya, the owner of IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Mallya becomes the second IPL owner to have a team in the CPL following Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan’s move to buy Trinidad and Tobago.
The deal was finalised the night before the player draft that took place on Thursday and was agreed upon following meetings between Mallya and high-level Barbados government officials.
“We worked out various scenarios, projected financial numbers and it all looks very good provided the league grows at the pace we all hope it does.
“But initially we came to the conclusion that it was necessary to approach the government of Barbados”, Mallya told reporters after the development.
“I came here about three weeks ago, made a presentation to the government and I was absolutely overwhelmed by the support expressed by the Prime Minister himself,” said Mallya.
According to Mallya, the decision to buy a CPL team was not a rushed one.
“I didn’t jump into the CPL in a rush. I was busy concentrating on building my IPL franchise and I knew that CPL would have some teething problems in the first couple of years.
“When I was convinced that the CPL was in a proper growth mode here in the Caribbean I decided to take a good, hard look. I was told that the Barbados franchise was available which was great news for me personally.
“I have been coming here to the Caribbean since the late 80s,” Mallya said, adding: “I used to own the global Berger paints company which had extensive interests in the Caribbean. My familiarity with the Caribbean in general and Barbados in particular goes back a number of years. I love this island and obviously that contributed to my enhanced interest in looking at the Tridents franchise.”
While the other IPL owners at the CPL have opted for a change in name, with the Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel rebranded as the Trinbago Knight Riders in an attempt to create brand synergy between the two sides, Mallya is not convinced that is the way for his newly acquired team.
“I am sure we can make every Bajan feel very proud that they own a part of the Tridents’ team. It was a struggle to get it all done in time but it is done and the player’s draft is over so upward and onwards.
“I know that Bajans love their cricket. Barbados has produced some of the best cricketers... And the Trident is the national symbol. So I am very conscious of, and very sensitive to, that fact. So right now it is going to be the Tridents and for the foreseeable future I am going to build the Tridents brand. I think that is more important.”
For now, there will be no massive changes to the staff either. Mallya says that there was not enough time to make radical changes and the side has been a success so doesn’t feel the need to shake things up.
“We have got this deal done late last night. The draft was [on Thursday]. So I obviously had to go with the previous staff. I know Robin Singh, he lives in India. I know Kieron Pollard, the captain. They have done well in the last three editions of the CPL. If there is no reason to change why change?”
With Pollard and Shoaib Malik also in the team the Tridents have a strong side that should have a good season on the field.