"To attract 6 of the strongest franchises in the biggest T20 event in the world is crucial" - Graeme Smith on IPL owners acquiring SA20 franchises

South Africa v England - 1st Test: Day 2
Graeme Smith has led the project of structuring a franchise T20 league in South Africa

Former South Africa captain and SA20 league commissioner Graeme Smith spoke about the impact of the interest attained by the newfound league from the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise owners. The ownership of the franchises was finalized in July 2022 after placing successful bids at the auction.

The Indian cash-rich league has already marked its territory in overseas leagues with specific acquisitions in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and the International League T20 (ILT20) as well.

However, SA20 marks a fully-fledged and unequivocal investment by the IPL franchise owners.

.@GraemeSmith49 aka '๐๐ข๐Ÿ๐Ÿ' is here for the #SA20 event ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณโœˆ๏ธOn a scale of 1โƒฃ-๐Ÿ”Ÿ, how excited are you for the @SA20_League? ๐Ÿ’ฌ๐ŸคžStay tuned to #JioCinema & #Sports18 & watch the #SA20League LIVE from Jan 10 ๐Ÿ“บ๐Ÿ“ฒ#SA20onJioCinema #SA20onSports18

The fact that all six franchises have well-established ownership makes a huge statement ahead of the inaugural edition of the tournament, especially with the competition being intense with other T20 franchise leagues.

Terming the prospect of being able to attract owners from the IPL as "crucial", Smith addressed a Sportskeeda query at an event with Viacom18 Sports in Mumbai, saying:

"I think, to be able to attract India and their love for South African cricket has always been there, right from Jonty through to AB to many other superstars along the way, but also to attract six franchises, six of the strongest franchises in the biggest T20 event in the world is crucial."

Smith added:

"You're looking to attract people when you build these things that can help build with you, they can bring their expertise, they can bring in their experience and I think that is something we have managed to do. We will learn as much from them as they will learn from us."

India has shared an amicable relationship with South Africa over the years when it comes to cricket. Right from their historic 1992 tour of the African nation to IPL 2009 being hosted in South Africa, the two countries have always had each other's backs.

"SA20 will give a lot of cricketers, a lot of hope about the game of cricket" - Mark Boucher

SA20 has cast high expectations following a successful auction, with several young prospects finding a team to hone their skills and showcase their talents.

While South Africa have negotiated their transition relatively well, they are yet to transcend to the next level, something which they hope to overturn with the inception of their very own franchise league.

The day everyone has been waiting for has arrivedโ€ผ๏ธ#SA20 to blast off with an exciting Western Cape derby between @MICapeTown and @paarlroyals at Newlands ๐Ÿ˜Check out the FULL fixture list ๐Ÿ‘€โ€ฆ

Speaking about how the introduction of SA20 will instill hope in the minds of emerging players in South Africa, former wicketkeeper Mark Boucher said:

"I think grassroots is really important in South African cricket, and SA20 will give a lot of cricketers, a lot of hope about the game of cricket. As we keep saying, cricket has been through a rough time in South Africa, and what this league will do is give youngsters hope and make them realize that you can make your living through the game which is great."

Durbanโ€™s Super Giants, Joโ€™burg Super Kings, MI Cape Town, Paarl Royals, Pretoria Capitals, and Sunrisers Eastern Cape will partake in the inaugural edition of the SA20, which will begin on January 10.

Who will win the first-ever edition of the tournament? Let us know what you think.

Also Read: "I remember sitting in my room that night after Viru and Sachin were smashing us everywhere" - Graeme Smith reminisces his time in India

Get IPL 2023 Live Score along with Points Table & Schedule Updates at Sportskeeda.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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