Indian players can boost profile of T20 Global League: CSA chief Haroon Lorgat
Former ICC CEO and current CEO of Cricket South Africa (CSA), Haroon Lorgat, speaks about the country’s upcoming T20 Global League, the domestic game and the future of international cricketUpdated: Jun 01, 2017 23:46 IST
Cricket South Africa is leaving no stone unturned as they chart out their plans to make the newly-launched T20 Global League into a successful venture.
And at the helm of it is their CEO Haroon Lorgat, who feels they have a winner up their sleeves.
The former ICC CEO speaks about the league, how it will be merged in their home calendar and its other aspects:
How will the T20 Global League compare to the rest of the leagues that are around?
All leagues are good, IPL is phenomenal, Big Bash is doing good, CPL also. But we have to recognise that we have got domestically some of the best players. If you look at the rankings of the players, we have got No 1 in batting, bowling. These players have never played each other in our own country. We are also attracting some of the best international players.
So what is different (that) we would like to have is the quality of cricket. We want to focus on the cricket first. If you look at the name of the league, if you look at the way we styled it, we are looking at a premier cricket competition and hopefully the best in the world. Alongside that, there will be entertainment. Not the other way. It’s not the entertainment and then cricket.
It will be held during the South African cricket season. Will that alter your international calendar?
It’s a real risk. While we are very supportive of ICC with restructuring of the international cricket, because you got to have a structure that makes sense to the fan, a competition. Bilateral without meaning is difficult for a fan to follow. That’s what you have got to fix.
So the leagues will have to grow, but you have to deal with international cricket also. You got to grow this too at the same time. You can’t leave this alone and expect this to be growing. It’s gonna overshadow international cricket. You have to create something that makes international cricket attractive.
What is the right way to strike a balance?
It will depend on what we do with international cricket. If we do nothing, then that reality can arise where the leagues will simply take over. I think there is (a) chance for international cricket to remain relevant if we structure it properly and we give context and meaning to it. In ODI, you are playing towards qualification for a World Cup.
In Tests there is some form of championship that makes meaning. Why do two teams play together, because they are trying to get to the top – not ranking but of the league. So if you have got relevance, then people will follow it. But if there is no relevance, why will people follow it?
Currently, we simply fix bilateral series. Nobody knows what it fits, where it fits and that’s the danger for international cricket.
There is a tendency of players to succumb to corruption. What sort of controls are you going to put in place for that?
So, hopefully the starting point will be what we did when we picked it up two years ago. We certainly have a zero tolerance approach to it. We have brought all of those players to the book and the same we will apply (to) it -- whether it’s in the T20 league or other domestic leagues in South Africa -- we will certainly enhance our resources in the league.
We will also call upon the ICC to help us, which we have already done. So we will build our anti-corruption capacity to make sure we will monitor the league. We want a quality league and you can’t have a quality league if you haven’t got the checks and the balances.
Will the league follow the government policy of having six coloured players in the starting XI?
The policy of our government relates to our national teams. We have implemented our own target previously years back because we have a bottom half approach: fix the base and (the) top takes care of itself. And I think, that’s what we expect will happen in the league also. Because there are many, many black players now, (many) you will see them in the coming years (or) already you have seen them in the past years.
What we have done is in the prospectus we have outlined what we call the transformation philosophy as we want the teams to contribute to it because we have got a huge talent base out there which we haven’t accessed.
There’s (Kagiso) Rabada today, the no. 1 bowler in the world; you wouldn’t have seen him if wasn’t for our transformation policy. People don’t realise that Dale Steyn is the beneficiary of the programme because we went in to those rural areas and he came out of there.
Have you spoken to the ICC for a window for your league where international matches would be less?
We don’t think it is right to go and create a window where others should be entitled to play. This is our domestic window.
Have you taken the guidance of somebody like Lait Modi who was instrumental in starting the IPL, with regards to what can be done to popularise the event?
No we have got people on board including myself who have got enough knowledge we believe; we have brought in the specialists (to help us out). We think the team that we have got has got the requisite expertise to deliver.
South Africa won’t organise any ICC event till 2023? Will that hurt?
Ever year there is an assessment and last year our assessment was not good and they (assessment committee) prevented us from hosting international events. This year, April was when the new report came up and it was all clear.
That sanction applied to a global event like the World Cup. So you remember the ICC announced all of these events for the cycle during that period, and in fact I think it is more the big three took all the events. It wasn’t a question of we weren’t ready (sic), it was more the big three allocated the events for themselves.
That was during the period which wasn’t great for international cricket. It is critical to have those events as you can see the last time South Africa did anything worthwhile was in 2003 World Cup and therefore you could know it is now over ten years.
What do you think of the idea of Indian players sometimes coming to play here? Given that there is a huge market there, where does India figure in this league’s marketing plans?
It goes without saying that if the Indian players were available to play in this league, it would escalate the profile of the league. The Indian fan would fall in love with it and they already love the South African players. There is a big following for the South African players in India. Add the Indian players to it, (and) you can see how much better that could be.
How important is this league is stop South African players from leaving the country and signing Kolpak agreements to secure their financial future?
We think it will help domestic players to aspire to play in the league. It’s a new salary that they will earn that will compliment their domestic retainer fees. So we think it will help players in South Africa to remain here because that league is something they will aim for.
Where do you stand at the moment in your relationship with the BCCI?
We have got a very good relation with the BCCI. I think what has happened in the past is the past. Right now I can’t complain about anything.
First Published: Jun 01, 2017 19:22 IST