Hope BCCI allows few Indians in our T20 league: CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat

Haroon Lorgat is hoping the Indian Board will at least allow players not centrally contracted to feature in its new franchise Twenty20 league to be launched at the end of the year.

cricket Updated: Feb 16, 2017 20:56 IST
HT Correspondent
#T20 Global Destination League,BCCI,Cricket South Africa
Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Haroon Lorgat says their new T20 league has generated a lot of interest in Indian markets. (Getty Images)

Cricket South Africa (CSA) is hopeful the Indian Board will at least allow players not centrally contracted to feature in its new franchise Twenty20 league to be launched at the end of the year. A global tender was floated early this month for the #T20 Global Destination League.

Read more | South Africa cricket’s answer to IPL and BBL: Global Destination T20 League

Cricket South Africa CEO, Haroon Lorgat, is confident the eight-team league will have many takers and does not rule out even Indian Premier League owners buying teams. “We have got interest from all over, the US, UK, we got interest from the Middle East, Far East, and of course India and South Africa,” Lorgat told HT in a telephonic interview.

The former ICC CEO acknowledged that the Indian market would be important for the eight-team league, whose inaugural edition is expected to be played in November-December. “There is interest in the US, but there is a lot of interest coming out of South Africa… and India. These two countries in particular, a lot of interest is registered,” he said.

“I would not be surprised if there are existing team owners in IPL that are interested in owning a team in South Africa.”

The Indian Premier League was launched in 2007, and the Big Bash League and the Caribbean Premier League followed. South Africa, despite having top T20 players, has been slow off the block.

Lorgat said the internal problems in CSA had forced such plans to be shelved, but said T20 leagues have become the best way to generate revenue in cricket. “It is the reality,” he said. “We recognise the best way to generate revenue is through the T20 format. The best way to attract new audiences is through the T20 format. We need that in South Africa as much as anywhere else in the world.”

Shah Rukh Khan, co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, had purchased the Trinidad & Tobago franchise of the Caribbean Premier League in 2015. CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat is hoping some IPL team owners might be interested in buying stakes of teams in the new South African T20 league. (Getty Images)

Indian companies and individuals own franchises in the CPL as well and South Africa too is likely to tap into global cricket’s biggest market. “We have a good location, the time zone is very good. South Africa has also got wonderful infrastructure for cricket. It has also got great players in South Africa itself, who would be attracted to many team owners.”

Lorgat said his frosty relationship with the BCCI was in the past, and the two boards worked with great understanding. However, there is no guarantee of Indian players featuring in the league. The BCCI has not released players for other country leagues and recently withdrew the NOC given to Yusuf Pathan to play in a Hong Kong T20 league.

Lorgat said: “I would love players from India participating in the league. We understand BCCI’s position, but hopefully we could engage with them and have some reciprocal arrangement. They may not be able to release all their star players. We understand workload is an issue, but there may well be other players who are not centrally contracted, and BCCI would be able to release them.”

First Published: Feb 16, 2017 20:51 IST