Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) new T20 franchise league has been named as ‘SA20’. In a virtual press conference, league commissioner and former South Africa captain Graeme Smith also said that the player auction for the inaugural season of SA20 will be held on September 19.
The player registrations for the SA20 player auction closed on Sunday evening with a positive show of interest from players around the world and from established as well as young South African talent.
All the six teams, Sunrisers Eastern Cape, Pretoria Capitals, Paarl Royals, MI Cape Town, Johannesburg Super Kings and Durban franchise, owned by IPL franchises, have already signed up to five players apiece (four by Paarl, two each by Pretoria and Eastern Cape) through a direct-acquisition process.
The franchises have an overall purse of US$2 million, with the maximum squad strength set at 17. The six teams can acquire services of seven international cricketers and ten South African players, with the playing eleven to follow the IPL path of four internationals and seven local players.
“Today is another significant day as we officially unveil the SA20. We selected a name for its simplicity and something that can be uniquely ours as we enter this new and exciting phase of cricket in South Africa. Dropping the T in T20 cricket shows our intention to be different. We want to change the game for our players and for our fans, and most importantly, create a League that all South Africans can be a part of,” said Smith.
The SA20 has attracted some of T20 cricket’s biggest names like England’s Liam Livingstone, Jos Buttler, and Moeen Ali apart from West Indies’ Jason Holder and Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan apart from the world-class contracted Proteas players.
“The countdown to January 2023 gets more thrilling with each major milestone that we cross and today is another step towards that first ball being bowled. We hope fans will be able to relate to our brand as we work towards making the SA20 a world-class tournament South Africans can be proud of,” added Smith.
SA20 will be in a direct clash with UAE’s ILT20, also scheduled to begin from January next year. Both leagues will be operating in the time when Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL) and Bangladesh’s Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) will be on.
SA20 will be the third time South Africa would be attempting to launch a franchise T20 league in the country. In its previous attempts, the attempt to start Global League T20 failed to happen in 2017.
Its replacement, the Mzansi Super League was held in 2018 and 2019 but didn’t get the big broadcast rights, with the free-to-air South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) getting broadcast rights for a much smaller sum. The league hasn’t been played since 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic and will now make way for the SA20.