Cricket South Africa (CSA) has announced the launch of a new eight-team franchise based league that is tentatively scheduled to start in the last quarter of 2017. Named #T20 Global League, it is expected to be South Africa’s answer to the popular Indian Premier League and Big Bash League of Australia. Tenders for applying for franchises are already out.
South Africa already have a six-team Ram Slam T20 meet that started in 2003-04 but its popularity is on the wane in recent years. Top players like AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis are big draws in the IPL but not in the Ram Slam either because of clashing dates or due to the limited number of teams in the tournament.
The new eight-team league is expected to bring South Africa back in the race with India and Australia. CSA president Chris Nenzani and CEO Haroon Lorgat’s presentation to the ICC board in Dubai this week was reportedly met with favourable response.
According to the rules of the new league, potential owners must submit ‘an Expression of Interest,’ and ‘a formal bid.’ The CSA will then evaluate the bids before announcing the team owners. The entire process will continue till March 3. Reportedly, a number of Indian conglomerates could be interested in picking stakes in the franchises.
“Our vision is to drive the creation of a new #T20 destination league in South Africa that would energise the sport of cricket in South Africa by creating a global platform for the best-in-class to perform and showcase their talent to a global audience,” Nenzani was quoted as saying in a CSA media release.
“We have received a very favourable response to our plans from the ICC and Member Boards and look to their support in our endeavour. We now look forward to another exciting chapter in the evolution of South African cricket and to the whole game benefitting from our new #T20 Global League,”
“Early feedback from the marketplace suggests that there is tremendous interest in our Global Destination League from around the globe,” said Lorgat.
“This new #T20 Global Destination League offers great opportunities for investment in South Africa and South African cricket, and we are excited by the number of local and international superstars that will feature in the league. We are also confident that the window we have chosen will make it possible for franchises to attract top class players to South Africa,” Lorgat said.