Haroon Lorgat speaks at the launch of the Stellenbosch Kings alongside team owner and Bollywood star Preity Zinta. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Former Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat has expressed his disappointment at the postponement of the T20 Global League after a hastily-arranged CSA board teleconference on Tuesday morning.

Lorgat, who was released from his post two weeks ago after “a breakdown in the relationship between the CSA board and the CEO”, was the “driving force” behind the T20GL, especially due to the relationships he formulated with the franchise owners, of which seven of the eight are foreign.

However, CSA released a statement on Tuesday afternoon stating that “having discussed it with all our stakeholders, including the franchise owners, we believe that the interest of the league should be our first priority.

“We have reassessed our strategy, and believe that postponing the first edition of the T20 Global League to next year will serve us well.”

It understood that the delay in securing a stable television broadcast deal and central rights sponsorship for the tournament were at the heart of the postponement decision until November 2018.

When contacted by Independent Media on Tuesday morning, Lorgat, who was enjoying his new-found free time on the golf course, was shocked by the latest turn of events.

“This is all news to me,” Lorgat said. “But if what you’re saying is true, then that’s obviously very disappointing.

“It is disappointing for a lot of people… obviously there was a lot of hard work, time away from families and loved ones that went into getting this project off the ground, and lots of people made plenty of sacrifices in trying to put on a great tournament for the cricket-loving people of South Africa.”

Lorgat was not willing to discuss the reasons for the postponement, citing that “when I was at CSA, it used to irk me when people did not have all the facts and commented in the media about things they knew very little about, so I am not prepared to do the same now that I am no longer in the loop”, before reiterating that “it is just very disappointing”.

Independent Media understands that CSA were to have a meeting with their staff on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the events that have unfolded, especially due to the fact that many of the staff members were set to be employed by the various T20GL franchises around the country in different coaching, operational and media liaison capacities.

The individual, though, that could be most affected by the postponement is the newly-installed T20GL tournament director Russell Adams.

After being head-hunted for the position, the Cape Town-born Adams returned to South Africa in August from India, where he had been based for the last nine years, serving as the Vice-President of Commercial, Operations and Cricket Academy for the IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

Before that, he also worked as a consultant to the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), who own the Cape Town Knight Riders.

The T20GL’s postponement is also likely to see a rescheduling of the domestic calendar now due to the six-week gap in the season that was created for the inaugural tournament, with the final originally scheduled for the plum public holiday date of December 16.


IOL Sport