Graeme Smith calls on SA cricketers to grab opportunity and make a name for themselves in the CSA T20 Challenge
Graeme Smith has thrown down the gauntlet to South Africa’s cricketers to “put their hands up” and make a name for themselves in the CSA T20 Challenge, with spots for the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup very much up for grabs.
“Cricket South Africa is extremely excited ahead of our T20 Challenge,” Smith, CSA’s Director of Cricket, said, adding “we are not just excited because the competition is upon us, but because of the quality of players that have assembled for this competition.
The eagerly-anticipated domestic CSA T20 Challenge kicks off this Friday in a bio-secure environment in Durban and will be played at the Hollywoodbets Kingsmead Stadium from 19-28 February 2021.
Smith confirmed that all nationally contracted Proteas will be available for the CSA T20 Challenge, making their way straight to Durban almost immediately after returning from the recently-completed tour of Pakistan.
Giving further incentive for not only established Proteas, but also talented up and coming franchise cricketers to perform in the tournament was CSA's announcement this morning that the CSA T20 Challenge will be broadcast on multiple networks globally.
Star India, Fox Sports (Australia) and Willow TV (North America) have acquired the rights to broadcast all 17 matches of this season's domestic tournament.
This tournament will be aired locally on SuperSport, with six franchises competing for the coveted T20 title and also the opportunity for players to be seen and snapped up by teams in the lucrative global T20 leagues around the world.
“We are delighted to have finalised our broadcast schedule for the CSA T20 Challenge. To have the tournament beamed across the world is another wonderful opportunity to showcase the talent that this country has to offer," said CSA's Acting Chief Executive Officer, Pholetsi Moseki.
“Furthermore, the expression of interest from these broadcasters shows there is a real appetite for South African cricket, and this is testament to the good work that is being done at grassroots level to continue harvesting players of a high quality," Moseki added.
Rebecca McCloy, Foxtel’s Director of Acquisitions and Sports Partnerships, said: “We have just experienced a fantastic summer of cricket in Australia with audiences for our test series and domestic T20 series reaching new records. Cricket fans can’t get enough, and we are incredibly pleased to bring the CSA T20 Challenge series to audiences in Australia.”
Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje are two of the Proteas stars that have already checked into the bio bubble with their franchises in Durban, while other Proteas stars included in their franchise squads are the likes of Chris Morris, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dean Elgar, Tabraiz Shamsi and Janneman Malan.
“I would like to commend the franchises for putting together such formidable groups of players. With the calibre of players that will be in Durban over the next two weeks, we can safely say that this will be much more than a domestic competition. It will be closer to an international competition and I am sure the younger players that are part of the squads will only benefit from having some of the best T20 players line-up alongside them. We look forward to a tournament of high standards and one that will undoubtedly attract widespread interest,” said Smith.
With COVID 19 continuing to wreak havoc with global cricketing schedules, and putting paid to the Australia tour of South Africa, Smith said it was time to “invest in South African cricket and it needs to come first”.
To this end, Smith was delighted with the “huge success” of South Africa recently being able to stage the tour of Sri Lanka to its shores to face the Proteas, the Pakistan’s women’s national team’s tour to South Africa to face the Momentum Proteas, as well as the smooth and secure hosting of the Momentum One Day Cup competition in Potchefstroom.
“I have been very proud of how the team at Cricket South Africa has handled all the challenges that have been thrown their way. The most important thing is to get cricket played and to get our players on the park. We've got a lot of growth that needs to happen in the men's game, our women’s team are currently in a better position than the men’s team. Players need to step up. We've got to improve and we've got to get the team playing. That's my ultimate goal," said Smith.
With the exciting master blasters and death bowlers lining up to set Durban ablaze, there is the opportunity for a new legion of T20 cricketer to light up the stage and force their way into the reckoning for next year’s ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.
“Our goal is to put together the best T20 World Cup squad we can. The guys have to be playing and playing well to be considered,” said Smith.
The stage is set, the gauntlet has been laid down, it is time to see who will take up the CSA T20 Challenge.
CSA T20 Challenge Squads:
Imperial Lions: Temba Bavuma (capt), Reeza Hendricks, Dwaine Pretorius, Delano Potgieter, Beuran Hendricks, Wiaan Mulder, Lutho Sipamla, Bjorn Fortuin, Ryan Rickelton, Sisanda Magala, Malusi Siboto, Eldred Hawken, Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen, Aaron Phangiso, Ruan Haanbroek.
Hollywoodbets Dolphins: Keshav Maharaj (capt), Sarel Erwee, Khaya Zondo, Kerwin Mungroo, Robbie Frylinck, Keegan Petersen, Grant Roelofsen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Ruan de Swardt, Daryn Dupavillon, Mangaliso Mosehle, Senuran Muthusamy, Prenelan Subrayen, Eathan Bosch, Ottneil Baartman.
Momentum Multiply Titans: Heinrich Klaasen (capt), Theunis de Bruyn, Grant Thomson, Henry Davids, Chris Morris, Sibonelo Makhanya, Dayyaan Galiem, Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Junior Dala, Okuhle Cele, Simon Harmer, Tabraiz Shamsi, Gregory Mahlokwana, Lungi Ngidi, Lizaad Williams.
Six Gun Grill Cape Cobras: Tony de Zorzi (capt), Calvin Savage, Christiaan Jonker, Corbin Bosch, George Linde, Hlomla Hanabe, Imraan Manack, Janneman Malan, Jason Smith, Kyle Verreynne, Nandre Burger, Onke Nyaku, Siyabonga Mahima, Tshepo Moreki, Ziyaad Abrahams, Zubayr Hamza.
VKB Knights: Pite van Biljon (capt), Mbulelo Budaza, Jacques Snyman, Andries Gouws, Gerald Coetzee, Patrick Kruger, Shaun von Berg, Grant Mokoena, Farhaan Berhardien, Alfred Mothoa, Ferisco Adams, Wandile Makwetu, Raynard van Tonder, Matthew Kleinveldt, Jonathan Vandiar, Migael Pretorius.
Warriors: Sinethemba Qeshile (capt), Gihahn Cloete, Jon-Jon Smuts, Wihan Lubbe, Lesiba Nqoepe, Marco Marais, Ayabulela Gqamane, Marco Jansen, Glenton Stuurman, Anrich Nortje, Tshepo Ntuli, Mthiwekaya Nabe, Stefan Tait, Lizo Makosi, Triston Stubbs, Jade de Klerk.