DURBAN – Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat slammed what he called “mischief-making” amongst certain parts of the media as speculation around the inaugural T20 Global League continues to gather momentum, both good and bad.
“I am flabbergasted by those reports, and shocked at the calibre of journalism,” Lorgat exclusively told Independent Media at a press gathering for the Durban franchise on Friday.
Reports of ownership concerns and questions of the transparency of the competition have been rife, but Lorgat maintained that everything is on track.
“You saw the Durban owners here today, and you have seen the other two franchises. In the next few weeks, the others will be revealed. There are a lot of mischief-makers out there.”
Lorgat did concede that there had been late complications with the ownership of the Stellenbosch franchise, with the initial franchise holders, Brimstone, having pulled out.
“Brimstone have always said they do not want to be a majority owner. They wanted to lead a consortium, and as of last night (Thursday), they have pulled out,” Lorgat explained.
“We had enough bidders initially, and we are turning back to that list. We desperately want South African ownership, but maybe they don’t quite share the vision, and understand the business model,” Lorgat expanded on the foreign-ownership bias.
“There are losses to be absorbed in the first few years, and perhaps there is no appetite for that in the local market. As you can see from the foreign owners, they have definitely bought into it, and are very enthusiastic about this tournament,” he reiterated.
“I have no doubt that we will have another owner (for Stellenbosch), but it may well be foreign-based owners again.”
Reflecting on the excitement around the tournament, Lorgat said that they had already been approached by several prospective partners.
“Sponsors are coming forward without us approaching them. Once we announced the two IPL franchises and two PSL franchises owning teams in this competition, the level of interest was astonishing,” he revealed.
While neither Lorgat nor Fawad Rana, the Durban Qalanders owner, could confirm if there would be Pakistani players in the competition, both said the newly-crowned Champions Trophy winners would be a welcome addition.
“We do not dictate who must be chosen, because that is down to individual franchises and their needs. But, we are actually increasing the number of foreign players from four to five in each franchise, and the squads will go to 18 players. We don’t want to deny opportunities to local players,” Lorgat said.
The next step on the road to the eventual start of the tournament in early November is the player draft, which will now be on the last weekend of August.
“When we sat down with the owners in Dubai recently, several of them requested an extra week, just to get themselves sorted in terms of what they want from the draft. So it will be on the weekend of the 26th and 27th of August, and we are happy with that.”
The T20 Global League is scheduled to start on 3 November, with the final on 16 December at The Wanderers.