Jacobs' break traced to T20
There are many reasons for South Africans to dislike the Champions League T20. Besides making the clumsy error of pouring even more 20-over cricket onto an already overflowing cup, its timing is ghastly.
It has reduced the test series against Australia to two matches instead of three and it will allow the Proteas three days together before they welcome the former world champions for a six-week tour.
But, ask the 19 members of the Cape Cobras and Warriors squads who are not nationally contracted whether they would prefer to scrap the event in the interests of more time, and they are likely to dead-bat any such suggestion. For all its wrongs, there is one thing the Champions League does right; it gives little-known domestic players some small exposure in the blockbuster world that is international cricket. Last season, it even proved a successful audition for one such player to land a starring role.
Davy Jacobs led the Warriors to the final and was their leading run-scorer, with just under 300 runs from six matches. His aggressive batting and creative captaincy earned him an IPL contract with the Mumbai Indians that will increase his bank balance by R1.3-million a year for the next three years. It's small change compared to the R6.65-million Johan Botha will be paid by the Rajasthan Royals or the R8.4-million Dale Steyn will receive from the Deccan Chargers, but it is more than Jacobs would earn by plugging away on the fields of Port Elizabeth.
When he was asked to choose between Mumbai, for whom he may end up warming the bench for through the tournament, and the Warriors, whom he would skipper in every match, it was a no-brainer. Besides the obvious financial incentive, sticking with Mumbai will likely be the closest Jacobs will come to international cricket.
Jacobs is a determined man, who has made no secret of his desire to play for South Africa, but seems to have accepted that he is unlikely to. Despite maintaining healthy averages across all formats and being able to keep wicket - a talent South Africa could soon be in need of, taking into account Mark Boucher's age and AB de Villiers' workload - he has been overlooked by the national selectors. He has not been included in A teams or invited to national training camps and the path to succession behind the stumps appears to be leading to Heino Kuhn.
It leaves Jacobs with only this two-week tournament, that a large chunk of the cricketing world wants to wish away, to experience playing the highest level, or something pretty close to it. He is not the only one who has something to gain.
Justin Ontong, whose international career never really kicked off, Charl Langeveldt, who is close to the end of his, Andrew Puttick and Justin Kreusch, who have served the domestic game for years, and youngsters like Michael Rippon and the Smuts brothers, who want to make an impression, will all feel the same, and that gives South Africans at least one reason to like it.