Was that the start of the IPL I heard on my TV yesterday? Dear Lord, six weeks of Ravi Shastri and Danny Morrison screaming on their mics because someone hit a six.

The bombastic nature of the TV commentators aside, the IPL is what every cricket board dreams about. It’s a dream the Australian board and the West Indies board were actually able to implement successfully. 

It’s a similar dream that Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the England Cricket Board are hoping to make real - in the case of CSA at the end of this year and in England in 2020.

CSA is in the midst of its preparation for what is for now being called the "Global T20 League".

The event will get a proper name in due course, no doubt with some big company’s title attached - at least that’s what CSA will hope.

Over 150 applications have come in to own a franchise - some heavy hitters from this country and a large number from India.

A shortlist of potential bidders will be drawn up next month and interviews conducted toward the end May with shortlisted candidates.

CSA will unveil the new team owners, the eight teams together with a group of eight “icon” players - who will be distributed to each of the new teams - at a special event in London.

The tournament itself runs from the first week of November until December 16.

In addition - an element that has yet to be made public - is whether the competition will be broadcast on ‘free-to-air’ TV - in this country’s case on either the SABC or e.tv.

A significant part of what has made the IPL and Big Bash League so successful, is the fact that matches are freely available to watch. That is not the case with domestic cricket in this country, and it’s critical that CSA resolve to have a portion of the tournament - at least 50 percent - shown live, for free.

This T20 event is a major play for CSA, who’ve been left behind since being amongst the pioneers of the T20 format back in the mid-2000s.

The franchise T20 model based around city-based teams has proved a lucrative source of income in Australia and India and in a narrowing market - not to mention with the challenges that South Africa’s rocky economy keeps throwing up - it’s critical that the new tournament works.

There are massive marketing challenges. South African cricket supporters already battle with knowing where the Warriors and the Knights come from - and the fact the new tournament will make it the fourth T20 competition that will be played in South Africa.

It’s thus vital CSA smooth out those processes.

The event certainly has the potential to become the jewel in the crown as far as domestic cricket is concerned, but there’s also a chance it could be an embarrassing non-event, if South African supporters - already stretched thin - don’t take to it.

The Star