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And now Shah Rukh Khan seeks to popularise cricket in America!

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BY S VENKAT NARAYAN Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, December 1: Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL), has completed a major long-term investment in cricket in the United States in partnership with American Cricket Enterprises (ACE).

The partnership between ACE and the KKR will include financial investments and expertise to help ACE develop and launch Major Cricket League (MCL) in the US.The investment is being led by Khan, along with his partners in the Knight Riders franchise – film actress Juhi Chawla and her businessman-husband Jay Mehta. The Times of India today quoted sources as saying that the Knight Riders is also likely to own and run the Los Angeles franchise. Los Angeles plays host to legendary clubs like the LA Lakers (basketball) and the LA Galaxy (soccer).

For a long time, Bollywood has been one of India’s big cultural and commercial exports to the US. Now one of its biggest stars has decided to invest in what promises to be a bigger entertainment and business opportunity in America. “For several years now, we have been expanding the Knight Riders brand globally and closely watching the potential for T20 cricket in the US. We are convinced that Major League Cricket has all the pieces in place to execute its plans and we look forward to making our partnership an enormous success in the coming years,” Khan said in a statement.Major League Cricket will deliver the US’s first professional T20 league featuring top international players from the host country and around the world. The focus, ACE says, will be on developing a homegrown player-pool for the US and the league. The league’s inaugural season will be in 2022.The Kolkata Knight Riders also own Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), a franchise it bought in 2015. Between 2008 and now, KKR have won the IPL twice (in 2012 and 14) and the CPL four times in six editions so far.KKR and Red Chillies Entertainment CEO Venky Mysore said: “We have had a keen interest in the US and our expansion is consistent with our long-term strategy. We look forward to the new challenge of building cricket in the world’s most sophisticated sports and media market,” says Mysore.Vijay Srinivasan, the co-founder at ACE and Major League Cricket, said: “There is a passionate following for cricket right across the US”, underlining New York, New Jersey, LA, Florida, Atlanta, Texas, Chicago, the Bay Area, Seattle among the hotbeds of the sport.”We have granular data on the audiences, which has helped guide our plans for the key markets. Our research indicates there are 15-20 million fans in the US, with over four million regular viewers for cricket broadcasts on our partner Willow TV. This audience is complemented by over 150,000 regular players in leagues and conferences across,” Srinivasan said.

“The US is now the third or fourth largest market for cricket media rights, anchored by large communities with backgrounds from the Indian sub-continent, the Caribbean, and other major cricket playing countries,” he added.

Mysore believes the diaspora in the US has been “huge consumer of cricket content” and will work towards ensuring that the T20 format catches the imagination of American public.

“The economics of the league and franchise is bound to be healthy given the size of the media market and the appetite of global brands to advertise on the T20 platform. The city councils and their support for development of cricket infrastructure will ensure that world class stadiums will be up and running fairly quickly,” he said.

Srinivasan believes there are a number of factors that have given him and his team the confidence that the timing is right for cricket to truly establish its hold in America. “The readmission of a National Governing Body for the sport, the newly formed USA Cricket, as a member of the ICC in 2017 was critical. Since then the progress has been significant. In May 2019 ACE was chosen as the exclusive strategic partner for USA Cricket for the development of a world-class professional T20 cricket league in the US,” he says.

The league has leading experts on board and is working towards its plans to feature six teams from major metropolitan regions across the United States.

“As we finalise venues, we will make further announcements. The first Minor League Cricket season in 2021 will be a major stepping stone towards the launch and we are very excited to be able to deliver the first edition of a national T20 competition,” Srinivasan said.



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Keheliya, seven others further remanded till 28th June

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The Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court today [14] ordered that former Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella and seven others be further remanded until June 28 by over the import of substandard human Immunoglobulin vials.

 

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President launches Public Learning and Education Platform for Sri Lankan Youth

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe officially launched www.publiclearn.lk a new education platform aimed at transforming Sri Lanka’s learning landscape at the Chamber Hall of the Presidential Secretariat, on Thursday [13]

Public Learn is a platform that guides users to free courses from the world’s top universities. .

Emphasizing the importance of adapting to a knowledge-intensive society, the President highlighted Sri Lanka’s strong educational results despite various systemic flaws. He noted that the new platform would enhance the education system’s effectiveness and stressed that Sri Lanka must swiftly advance in digitization to drive the new economic transformation.

President Wickremesinghe highlighted that the Public Learn platform serves as a crucial tool for enabling many Sri Lankans to advance personally and transform their nation. He reflected on Sri Lanka’s historical learning journey in three phases: first, during the era of Arahath Mahinda and the Pirivena system; second, with the introduction of the British public school system; and now, with the advent of digital education platforms like Public Learn, marking the third phase. He emphasized the importance of leveraging digital technology and knowledge to propel Sri Lanka forward in the digital economy, underscoring the need for continuous adaptation and innovation.

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Easter Sunday carnage: ‘Another probe nothing but an exercise in futility’

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Rev. Father Cyril Gamini

‘Implement PCoI recommendations at least now’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Catholic Church yesterday (14) reiterated its longstanding demand that the recommendations made by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (P CoI) into 2019 Easter Sunday attacks be implemented.

Rev. Father Cyril Gamini Fernando said so when The Island sought the Catholic Church’s reaction to the appointment by President Ranil Wickremesinghe a new committee of inquiry to investigate the actions and responses of the country’s intelligence and security authorities following the intelligence warning received from India.

The committee is headed by retired Judge Ms. A. N. J. de Alwis. Rev. Fernando said that the government should implement the recommendations made by the PCoI headed by Supreme Court judge Janak de Silva. He said another inquiry would be nothing but an exercise in futility as the PCoI conducted an in-depth investigation into the Easter attacks, including the failure on the part of the intelligence apparatus to act on foreign intelligence as well neutralise the growing threat posed by extremist elements.

Rev. Fr. Fernando questioned the rationale behind re-examining the conduct of State Intelligence Service (SIS) and Chief of National Intelligence (CNI) as the Supreme Court in January last year ordered Senior DIG Nilantha Jayewardena and retired DIG Sisira Mendis, who headed the SIS and functioned as CNI, respectively, to pay compensation to the tune of Rs 75 mn and Rs 10 mn.

“What is there to investigate again?” Rev Fernando asked, urging the government to go through the PCoI recommendations in respect of politicians and security officials.

In addition to the PCoI report, the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee and a Special Investigation Committee of three members appointed by the then President Maithriapla Sirisena probed the Easter carnage, Rev Fernando said, adding that if those in parliament were still interested in justice and fair play should look into that matter.

Rev. Fernando urged the government to examine how successive leaders had responded to PCoI findings. When President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a committee consisting of six MPs to look into the PCoI report and its findings soon after justice Janak de Silva handed over his report on Feb 1, 2021 it became clear that the powers that be would resort to old tactics. Nearly two years after President Rajapaksa’s ouster, the situation remained the same, Rev. Fernando said, adding that the Church wouldn’t give up its fight for justice.

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