After owning the most successful India Premier League (IPL) franchise Chennai Super Kings, India Cements looks set to add a Hockey India League (HIL) franchise.
A top executive of India Cements told IANS that the corporate is seriously considering a proposal from Hockey India (HI) for fielding the Chennai franchise in the HIL, starting January 5.
Sahara India, Jaypee Group, Patel-Uniexcel Group and Wave Group have already taken up the Lucknow, Punjab, Ranchi and Delhi franchises respectively.
The names of the other two franchisees will be made known well before next month's players' auction. HI remains tight lipped on the prospective owners of the remaining two franchises from any of three cities of Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore.
India Cements, who had bought the Chennai Super Kings for $91 million, are the front runners in owning a hockey franchise in Chennai.
India Cements official Kasi Viswanathan told IANS that they have received a proposal from Hockey India (HI) in owning a franchise.
"We have received a proposal and we are evaluating it. Hopefully we will decide it in the coming few days," said Viswanathan said.
Hockey India (HI) secretary-general Narinder Batra refused to divulge any details but said talks are on.
"The remaining two franchises will be named in the couple of weeks," said Batra.
According to reports, actor Shah Rukh Khan and industrialist Mukesh Ambani are keen on owing a franchise in Mumbai or Bangalore. Both Shah Rukh and Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) are also owners of IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians.
IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla is also a part of the advisory board in HI. Shukla said his expertise in running the world's most lucrative Twenty20 league will help HI.
"I would like to help HI with my experience in running the IPL. I think the Hockey India League will be financially viable venture for franchise owners. Unlike cricket, the cost is not huge in owning a hockey team," said Shukla.
In the league, six teams will play on home and away basis. There will be a total of 33 matches. The team topping the league will make a direct entry to the final. The teams finishing third and fourth will face in the first play-off and the winner will take on the second placed team in the second play-off for a place in the final.
Sixty international players distributed equally among the six teams. India's top 90 players, including the entire Olympics squad, have signed up for the league. There will be 10 international players and 14 domestic players in each team and at any given time only five international players can be on the field.