Cricket South Africa Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat on Saturday conceded that one of the major considerations before announcing the launch of an ambitious Twenty20 Global Destination League was losing key South African players to the KOLPAK agreement.
Recently speedster Kyle Abbott and batsman Rille Roussouw migrated to England to play County cricket for a stable financial future.
“Yes I must say that when we conceptualised a franchise-based T20 league the KOLPAK was a major consideration. Obviously, you want to give opportunity to the South African players to grow and also make a career out of cricket.
“Earlier, the only way to have a good career was to play for South African national team but this league with eight teams will have 88 slots for Proteas players,” Lorgat told PTI during an interaction.
The CSA Chief Executive was happy that ICC chairman Shashank Manohar was receptive and they got a favourable response from the global body.
“Mr Manohar was very supportive of the idea and obviously he knew the considerations kept in mind while announcing a franchise-based league. The members gave a favourable response when the concept was presented to them. Everyone understands that the game needs to grow and we have to find new avenues to do that,” said Lorgat, a former ICC Chief Executive.
Focus on Indian investors
He said the franchise-based league will have teams from top cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town and he would be looking at potential Indian investors.
“South Africa being a great country to tour and the time zone being convenient for the Indian sub-continent, we would love to have Indian investors on board. The global tenders are out and considering the ties that both India and South Africa share, it would be a great experience,” said Lorgat.
Indian players’ absence
Talk about BCCI’s obstinate stand till date that Indian players are not allowed to ply their trade in foreign leagues, Lorgat would love to have an interaction with current dispensation (COA) of BCCI.
“International cricket is sacrosanct and there would be no compromise. But it would be incredible for the league if we get a player like Virat Kohli on board.
“But I know how tough it is for top Indian players to take time out of their hectic schedule. But we would like to get the second rung of Indian players. I have not had a chance to discuss with BCCI’s current dispensation and that’s why I would not like to presume anything,” he said.
For the record KOLPAK agreement allows players from countries that share trade relations, apart from European Union nations with UK, play county cricket in England without the counties losing a foreign quota in first XI.
The players after four years are then eligible to play for England. South Africa has agreement with UK which allows its players to exercise KOLPAK agreement rights.
With South African national teams having reserved a quota for coloured players, more and more South African players are choosing county over country in order to maintain their livelihood.
Unless one plays for South African national cricket team, the chance of earning a living out of the game is difficult for average second rung players. The new T20 league gives them that opportunity.