23 Jun 2017

Hong Kong T20 Blitz franchise City Kaitak expands to South Africa

Hong Kong T20 Blitz franchise City Kaitak have gone global, becoming one of eight successful applicants out of 150 to win the bid for South African T20 Global League franchise Bloemfontein.

City Sports ownership group which is led by Sushil Kumar, were runners up in their first season of the Blitz with their overseas contingent led by Sri Lanka legend Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Asked if it was always the plan to expand, City Sports spokesman Alok Jain

"It was coincidence - after we'd started City Kaitak, the tournament in South Africa thing came in," Jain said.

"At that time we put in an expression of interest and then we found there were 150 bidding so it was a tough call for us to make the financial commitment but we made a call to go for it and we went to South Africa to make a presentation and the rest is history.

"We want to expand beyond Hong Kong and now with the South African team in our pocket we think we can cross the players from one to the other."

The acquisition is likely to have benefit for the general landscape for Hong Kong cricket, with increased exposure for the Blitz overseas and opportunities for local players who perform.

"We want to get Hong Kong players involved with the South African team in some capacity," Jain said.

"We believe we are the first Hong Kong company to acquire a franchise and have clearly stated our based in HK - that’s a matter of pride for us. If we do well I think it will elevate Hong Kong’s position in the world map."

As for the look of their new franchise, Jain hopes their Bloemfontein franchise will be able match the unmissable bright yellow colours of City Kaitak but this is yet to be confirmed.

However, one thing is for sure the team will have a flavour of Hong Kong present.

"We do intend for our team in Bloemfontein that the branding has a Chinese touch to our logos and uniform," Jain said. 

As for the City Kaitak franchise, Jain says it will be business as usual.

"We are fully intrenched into Hong Kong we will have distinct teams which will manage the affairs of that franchise." 

"We’ve started talking to players (for City Kaitak) and we know who we want for next season. We are in touch with players I think with the South African team, our player pool just got a bit bigger."