Victoria Bush Rangers to become Melbourne Royals

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Melbourne, Feb.10 (ANI): The Victorian Bushrangers could soon morph into the Melbourne Royals under a grand plan initiated by former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne to create a global cricket super franchise.

According to The Age, Cricket Victoria is in possession of a proposal from the Rajasthan Royals, the Indian Premier League team captained and coached by Warne, to enlist the state as part of a global sporting alliance with tentacles in India (Rajasthan), South Africa (the Cape Copras), England (Warne's former county Hampshire), the West Indies (Trinidad and Tobago) and Australia (Warne's native Victoria).

The organisation is yet to commit to the project, which dovetails with Cricket Australia's plan to expand the domestic Big Bash tournament to feature eight city-based teams from 2011-12.

Under the Rajasthan deal all the teams would carry the "Royals" brand for the purposes of Twenty20, a decision Victoria will not take lightly on account of its attachment to the "Bushranger" name with which it has won four Big Bash titles and competed in the inaugural Champions League on the international stage.

However, CV chief executive Tony Dodemaide is not averse to the idea that could deliver handsome commercial advantages in terms of access to overseas sponsors and almost year-round exposure.

It could also give players the chance to compete in different domestic leagues around the world and allow the sharing of players and coaches between teams.

"Clearly there are plans for new identities for the teams within the competition, so we will assess that as we go along, keep talking to our stakeholders and see what's right for us," said Dodemaide, who emphasised that Victoria would still compete as the Bushrangers in the Sheffield Shield and Ford Ranger Cup.

"Conceptually, it's about getting more awareness on the global stage. There are commercial advantages in having some activities outside of Australia. We are starting to see that now," he added. (ANI)

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