Domestic franchise T20 tournament replace Global League next month
South Africans will have to be satisfied with just another franchise competition in lieu of the T20 extravaganza promised for the first half of the summer.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) said in a statement on Monday that their regular T20 tournament would replace the inaugural edition of the T20 Global League (T20GL)‚ which was postponed when it emerged it would cost the board US$25-million — or more than half their current cash reserves.
The T20GL had been billed as CSA’s answer to the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Australia’s Big Bash‚ high-profile events that star the world game’s top players and attract audiences beyond those who simply want to watch cricket.
In the T20GL’s place will be a tournament that‚ as yet without a headline sponsor‚ will feature 24 fewer games than the original‚ and is unlikely to attract many foreign stars.
On the upside‚ the competition will involve the full complement of South Africa’s national players‚ a rarity in these days of a cluttered international calendar.
CSA’s acting chief executive‚ Thabang Moroe‚ was quoted in the release claiming that the tournament “will provide a mouth-watering appetiser before we move on to the main business of the summer with the international tours by India and Australia‚”
“We have witnessed what a hunger there is to see our Proteas in action during the Bangladesh tour which has seen packed houses attending the [one-day series] at Kimberley‚ Paarl and East London‚” Moroe said.
Those matches have indeed attracted impressive crowds.
But many of those spectators have been Bangladeshi supporters‚ possibly even the majority‚ and it’s not often that the cricketminded public of South Africa’s smaller centres get the chance to see international fixtures.
South African franchise matches tend to attract paltry crowds‚ whatever the format and how keen will significantly greater numbers of fans be to go to the Wanderers or Newlands just because AB de Villiers or Kagiso Rabada is playing?
SuperSport won’t complain about all that.
Now‚ at no additional cost‚ they will offer viewers a tournament beefed up by the presence of quality players who are rarely available at this level.
The competition will be played from November 10 to December 16.