On Sunday, many casual cricket fans in Bangladesh were startled for a second or two. While surfing their TV, they came across a franchise T20 match, where a team wearing purple and gold jerseys called Knight Riders were batting.
“IPL has already started?” this question popped up in their minds.
But after a closer inspection, they realised that the team batting is not the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders. They were Abu Dhabi Knight Riders. And the name of the tournament is not IPL but ILT20– International League Twenty20.
However, those fans can be forgiven for their mistake as Abu Dhabi Knight Riders and its Calcuttan namesake are under the same ownership.
In fact, three out of the six teams of ILT20 are owned by IPL franchises. Other than Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, there are Dubai Capitals which is owned by Delhi Capitals and there is ‘Mumbai Indians Emirates’ a subsidiary of the Ambani Group owned IPL team Mumbai Indians.
So, IPL’s imprint in ILT20 is very hard to miss.
Still, ILT20 can’t really be called the ‘secondary IPL’, as there is another league more deserving of that title.
South Africa’s brand new franchise T20 league SA20 is currently staging its inaugural season just like ILT20.
In SA20, all six participating teams are owned by IPL franchises, earning it the moniker of the ‘watered down version’ of IPL.