Indian Premier League franchise Delhi Capitals are reportedly eyeing a foothold in English cricket as it’s in “advanced talks” to buy stakes in county side Hampshire. A report in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ said former Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove, who still holds majority share in the club, is close to agreeing a deal to sell the county side to GMR Group, the co-owners of Delhi Capitals. “Hampshire County Cricket Club’s majority shareholder is in advanced talks to sell his stake to the part-owners of Indian Premier League team Delhi Capitals,” the report said.

If the deal comes to fruition, it will make Hampshire the first county side “to be owned by an overseas franchise”, it said.

The benefits of buying a county side for GMR could include a foothold in the English game, it added.

With The Hundred franchise tournament in England gaining popularity, the deal could give GMR a “first-mover advantage”, and also help the IPL franchise “develop its own players”.

The development comes amid reports that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is exploring opening up 50 per cent stakes in a few Hundred teams, and giving host counties the option to to sell their shares.

Bransgrove, who was in-charge of Hampshire for nearly 23 years, relinquished his post as chairman last year but continues to hold more that 60 per cent of the shares.

The report added that Hampshire is one of the three county clubs, besides Northamptonshire and Durham, which are not member-owned, giving Bransgrove the choice to sell his stakes “without fan input”.

Bransgrove is credited with developing the Ageas Bowl, which, for the first time, will host an Ashes Test in 2027.

The country side had a partnership with IPL side Rajasthan Royals between 2010 and 2013, and played T20 cricket as Hampshire Royals.

GMR have a 50 per cent stake in Delhi Capitals in both the IPL and Women’s Premier League (WPL). They also own Dubai Capitals in the UAE’s ILT20 besides a share in USA’s Major League Cricket side Seattle Orcas.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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