Former captain Graeme Smith expects talent in South Africa to be honed during the inaugural Cricket South Africa (CSA) League next year. The Proteas have gone all out in pursuit of attaining sustainability, even sacrificing a three-match ODI series against Australia in January, which puts their 2023 Cricket World Cup qualification in jeopardy.
South Africa are 11th in the World Super League 2022 standings, with the top seven teams besides hosts India assured of direct qualification for the tournament.
South Africa have hosted a slew of T20 franchise tournaments over the years, including the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Champions League T20 (CLT20). There was even talk of the 2022 IPL being hosted in the Rainbow Nation once again due to the COVID-19 threat in India.
Speaking about the prospect of growth for South African cricket with their newfound league, Smith said in an exclusive interview with the Times Of India:
"We'll be a South African league. Yes, we'll have international talent but the majority of the players in the XI (seven) are going to be South Africans. So, the opportunity for them to grow, the opportunity that comes with our owners and their investments into the grassroots and the development system of South African cricket is just huge and tremendous,"
Offering salaries of up to $300,000, several prominent international players have already signed up for the league. The franchises, on the other hand, will have a salary cap of $2 million to acquire players and assemble their squad.
"Present-day cricket is a topical point and has become an issue" - Graeme Smith
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is currently putting out fires as they come up in the form of new T20 franchise leagues around the world. The governing body had to give in by providing a window for the same, but that did not solve the concerns of the players who still have a hectic schedule.
Opining that the ICC needs to bring a balance between international and franchise cricket, Smith said:
"Talking of bilateral cricket, if you look at the focus of the ICC, it's becoming packed now. Look at the next seven years, you have seven world events, the calendars are getting tight and it's not easy to figure this all out."
So, present-day cricket is a topical point and has become an issue and that does need someone to look at it and see how they can balance it going forward."
How do you propose the restoration of parity in the cricketing calendar with the emergence of T20 leagues? Let us know what you think.
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