JOHANNESBURG – Cricket South Africa’s Board of Directors and the Members Forum, made up of senior provincial union officials, will finally decide this weekend whether to go ahead with an international franchise T20 tournament.
The ongoing “will they, won’t they” and even “can they” has caused much frustration that finality is critical after what has been an embarrassing 18 months for CSA.
Faf du Plessis reiterated yesterday the importance of the tournament taking place, while CSA commercial manager Clive Eksteen acknowledged that doubts about the tournament taking place had made life hard as far as confirming new sponsors were concerned.
When CSA announced the schedule for the 2018/19 domestic season last week, there were no sponsors for the four-day competition, previously known as the Sunfoil Series, or the domestic T20 tournament, called the RamSlam last season.
“Before we can announce anything on the local T20 tournament, we have to settle what was known as the Global League first,” said Eksteen.
Speaking at a launch event for the new season at SuperSport Park, CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe said a meeting of the Board of Directors this weekend should finally make clear what direction CSA will take. He said he was happy with the commercial “aspects” for an international franchise competition, and that he hoped to have “positive news” at the weekend.
Du Plessis highlighted the importance of hosting such a tournament not just in terms of the financial benefits but what it will mean for the growing number of professional players in the country.
“You look at the IPL and how India can now put out three teams. We just saw their A team and a B team playing recently; they just keep (rolling) out players because they’ve got a domestic (competition) where the young players are being exposed to the best players in the world,” said Du Plessis.
“I’ve been involved with the IPL for eight years and I can see the window closing on South African players. They are looking more at Australian players, at English players and the rest of the world, which means we need a tournament like the Big Bash where guys can perform on a global level to get recognition.”
Du Plessis said the players would want answers should the tournament not take place.
Eksteen said he was optimistic that CSA would confirm a sponsor for the four-day tournament in due course, while a backer for the local T20 tournament - involving the Titans, Lions, Warriors, Dolphins, Knights and Cobras - could be announced once there is clarity about the previously named Global T20.