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Hampshire agree marketing deal with Rajasthan Royals

Shane Warne
Warne announces the proposed global Royals franchise

Hampshire hope a marketing alliance with Indian Premier League team Rajasthan Royals will to create the "first global cricket franchise".

Under the plan, Hampshire will join Cape Cobras from South Africa, Victoria in Australia and Trinidad & Tobago under the Royals2020 "brand".

The teams in the Twenty20 franchise will wear the same kit, and players could switch to other sides in it.

Hampshire's one-day side are to be renamed the Royals under the plan.

They had been known as the Hawks in limited-overs cricket since all counties adopted one-day nicknames in 1999.

The England and Wales Cricket Board is still to be given full details of the plan, but Rajasthan chairman Manoj Badale was confident the franchise would come into effect.

We have no problem with Hampshire being Royals

Worcestershire chief executive Mark Newton

"There is nothing that we're doing that doesn't sit within the existing domestic guidelines or rules or regulations," said Badale. "This is a major innovation in world sport.

"It represents a great opportunity for the clubs, but also and opportunity for fans and sponsors to be part of something unique and exciting."

A "festival" tournament involving the Royals2020 team is also planned, a proposal that will add more matches to an already crowded fixture list.

The first has been proposed for Lord's this summer, while South Africa, Australia and the Middle East have been targeted as venues for future competitions.

Rajasthan Royals' coach and captain Shane Warne, the former Hampshire captain, believes the new format will provide an opportunity for retired players as well as young talent.


"Once you've finished and you've still got a drive for the game, what avenue is there to go out and play?," said Warne.

"Young Indian players for Rajasthan might be able to go to Hampshire, Cape Town or Trinidad to hone their cricket skills and also learn life skills.

"There's nothing like it in the world that's open to those sort of people."

Dimitri Mascarenhas, who succeeded Warne as Hampshire captain, has played for Rajasthan since the inaugural IPL, while the Indian franchise have subsequently recruited his county team-mate Michael Lumb, as well as appointing former Hampshire opener Sean Morris as chief executive.

Worcestershire chief executive Mark Newton, whose one-day team is already called the Royals, said he had no issue with Hampshire being given the same name.

"We have known about this for a while and we have no problem with Hampshire being Royals," Newton told BBC Sport.

"It's a fantastic opportunity and an exciting development for cricket."

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see also
Warne blasts Strauss Test absence
08 Feb 10 |  Cricket
IPL owners turn on media over row
22 Jan 10 |  South Asia
Lumb is a Royals hit, says Morris
21 Jan 10 |  Hampshire
Third IPL begins with a whimper
19 Jan 10 |  South Asia
Warne led the way - Bransgrove
07 Jan 10 |  Hampshire
Mascarenhas makes Rajasthan debut
11 May 08 |  Cricket
Warne rules out Hampshire return
27 Mar 08 |  Hampshire

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