FEB 04, (DNA) – Cricket South Africa has confirmed its intention to launch a new Twenty20 league this year in which the eight franchise teams will be privately owned. After presenting its plans for the league to the ICC earlier in the week, CSA on Saturday(February 4) issued a tender notice worldwide inviting expressions of interest from potential team owners.While the exact dates of the competition are still to be confirmed, it is expected to begin in November and run into December.Bangladesh’s tour to South Africa will end on October 29, and although India’s tour dates are still to be finalised, it is understood that the first Test will not start before Boxing Day.That leaves a six-or-seven-week window for the new Twenty20 competition, and ensures that it will not clash with Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL).
“Our vision is to drive the creation of a new T20 destination league in South Africa that would energise the sport of cricket in South Africa by creating a global platform for the best-in-class to perform and showcase their talent to a global audience,” said CSA President Chris Nenzani. “We have received a very favourable response to our plans from the ICC and Member Boards and look to their support in our endeavour.
We now look forward to another exciting chapter in the evolution of South African cricket and to the whole game benefitting from our new T20 Global League.”
CSA have set a deadline of March 3 for expressions of interest from anyone looking to own and operate a team through a franchise licensing agreement. Once expressions of interest have been received, the process will move forward to formal bids, after which CSA will evaluate those bids and announce the new team owners.
While the six franchises who play first-class cricket in South Africa were drawn up on a provincial basis, the new Twenty20 teams are expected to be city-based.
That means there are likely to be two teams in some cities – as there are in the Big Bash. Pretoria, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein would be most likely to have one team, while Cape Town and Johannesburg could conceivably have two each.
CSA faces several challenges as it attempts to launch the new league. To begin with, it is already playing catch-up with other leagues such as the Indian Premier League, which will hold its 10th edition this year, and the BBL, which has just finished its sixth.
While the Big Bash continues to expand, television audiences for the IPL have been in decline for several years. Whether CSA can generate significant viewer interest in an increasingly saturated market remains to be seen.
The issue of private ownership will also be a complicated one given CSA’s transformation agenda.
The organisation has not decided whether the racial quotas in place in its domestic cricket will also be applied in the new competition, but some sort of transformation element will need to come into play. Private
owners will presumably have to operate within these parameters when they think out team strategy. Nevertheless, CSA are confident of attracting bids.
“Early feedback from the marketplace suggests that there is tremendous interest in our Global Destination League from around the globe.” CSA’s Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said.
“We have taken our time and worked hard to reach the point where we are now ready to play in the global T20 arena.
This new T20 Global Destination League offers great opportunities for investment in South Africa and South African cricket, and we are excited by the number of local and international superstars that will feature in the league.
We are also confident that the window we have chosen will make it possible for franchises to attract top class players to South Africa.”=DNA