Cricket South Africa mooting plans for launching new global T20 league
Frustrated by the failure of the Ram Slam T20 tournament to attract big international players to feature in what is as of now the premier T20 competition in the country, Cricket South Africa (CSA) is contemplating the launch of a new T20 league featuring eight teams which will aim to overcome the drawbacks of the present system.
Though England’s Kevin Pietersen has signed up to play for Dolphins for the second time in as many seasons, the Ram Slam T20 league has seen a decline in the number of high-profile cricketers turning up after every season. In previous seasons, Chris Gayle played for Dolphins, Kieron Pollard for Cobras, Sohail Tanvir for Lions, Andre Russell for Knights, and Darren Sammy for Titans but the numbers have only gone down.
A weak economy and poor scheduling are often cited as the main reasons with many matches clashing with international fixtures, sometimes even those featuring the South African national team.
This has resulted in the Ram Slam languishing well behind other T20 leagues around the world like the Indian Premier League, Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL), England’s Natwest T20 Blast, the Carribean Premier League in the West Indies and the Bangladesh Premier League. Even the Pakistan Super League which saw its first season being held earlier this year, after being held up for close for five years, attracted big players, forcing CSA officials into a rethink.
The 2016-17 edition could be the final one for the Ram Slam league which will once again be without the bulk of the national team players who will instead be taking on Australia in their own backyard in a three-match Test series, including a day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval.
This could well mean that the proposed T20 league will be introduced only from the 2017-18 season onwards and talks are already underway to ensure that the final of that competition will be held on December 16, which is a public holiday in South Africa. Expanding the competition from its present six-team format to include two new teams is another innovation the CSA hopes will attract more players to sign up for the league.
A lot will, however, depend on the financial influx given to market and sustain the new league with care also required to negate the negative publicity that the Ram Slam managed to attract in its previous edition with allegations of match-fixing.