The T20 Global League – South Africa’s answer to the IPL and Big Bash – will start on November 4. That is the word from Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Haroon Lorgat, who was addressing politicians in Cape Town as CSA gave a presentation to the sports portfolio committee, reports a South African sports news portal – Sport24.
The presentation revealed that CSA is expecting to make a Rs 110 crore (SA Rand 220 million) loss in the 2017 financial year, and with the allure of the pound and cricket in England continuing to attract some of South Africa’s finest players, the success of this new-look T20 competition is seen as vital to CSA’s long-term vision of keeping its biggest assets on these shores.
Lorgat was not concerned by the forecast loss. CSA worked in four-year cycles, he said, and the three financial years that came previously had netted more than Rs 203 crore (Rand 410 million). But, the Global League was massive for cricket in the country and he appealed to government to get behind the project.”This new league is one such way that we believe we can bring a brand new focus into the country,” Lorgat said as politicians looked on quizzically.
“Up until now, in the South African circuit, we’ve been below par on that front. We really do believe that this is an opportunity for the country to benefit, where we can almost think of it as a World Cup coming to South Africa every year. This is what we’re planning. It’s something that we’ve taken on as a big bite. We think we will be able to deliver. We’ve brought in experts from off-shore,” he added.
The eight-team tournament will be made up of city-based franchises that could very well be owned by foreign investors. Of the 150-plus applications for franchise ownership, CSA confirmed that only a third were South African with India also making up a significant number. “It’s not just cricket. We’re talking about tourism, about branding South Africa and if we get it right there will be a lasting benefit, not only for cricket, but for the country,” Lorgat continued.
“This is the kind of T20 league where the best players in the world, alongside ours, will come and participate. We’re thinking of using this as a game-changer for cricket in the country.”
Those who have bid now have until April 28 to submit their final proposals. CSA will shortlist the potential bidders on May 11 and 12 and will interview the shortlisted candidates on May 29 and 30. The new team owners will be announced on June 19 before a player draft takes place on July 29. The tournament will run from November 4 – December 16.