Am I alone in wondering if the new, unnamed ‘world-class’ T20 league, which replaced the much-hyped but seriously mismanaged Global League T20, will ever get off the ground?
As with the Global League T20, which was abandoned primarily because a broadcaster could not be found, this new league is shrouded in the mists of uncertainty and again lacking in transparency.
At the fanfare announcement that SuperSport would co-own the new league with CSA, dates, times, teams and many essential details were absent and remain so. Yet the deal was, according to CSA’s acting chief executive Thabang Moroe, ‘the biggest in the history of South African domestic cricket, which will ensure the welfare of the game in South Africa’.
But just four months before the proposed launch of the event, Moroe says CSA is still developing its T20 strategy and is currently involved in securing sponsorship. Only then will the business plan be finalised.
‘We will then be in a position to clarify what we can propose and offer to other stakeholders,’ said Moroe.
That was his glib response to mounting anger on the part of franchise owners, three of whom have publicly criticised CSA for its high-handed attitude, complaining of being snubbed and ignored, and one even accusing CSA of lying. They feel that other agendas are in play.
The production of the new league involved handing back deposits of US$250,000 to the eight franchise owners, but one – the Durban Qalandars – refused to accept it, saying they retained the rights to the Durban operation. The Bloem Blazers have gone so far as to appeal to the Minister of Sport, so frustrated are they at the lack of communication from CSA.
Instead of addressing these issues, Moroe merely states: ‘The fact that they want to be part of it is an encouraging response. This confirms that they believe, as we indeed do, that our new T20 is a good product that compares with the best international standards.’
It does nothing of the sort, since the franchise owners, like the paying public, have no idea what the new T20 league will look like.
Once CSA has secured the sponsors, formulated its strategy and developed its business plan, only then will the franchise owners be told what they can or cannot have. They may not agree with what is offered, and there is every chance the new T20 league will be played out in court, rather than on the field.
And given that so many top international players were so badly burned last time, I wonder how many of them will be waiting for the call.
In the meantime, Global T20 Canada is up and running in a country that doesn’t rate cricket among its top sports.
Photo: Anesh Debiky/BackpagePix