AB de Villiers believes the inaugural T20 Global League has the potential to be one of the world’s most exciting T20 competitions.
In November, AB de Villiers will get the chance to tick another domestic T20 competition off his list, and this time it will be in his own backyard. As was pretty much expected, when Pretoria was announced as one of the eight cities to host a franchise, De Villiers walked on to the stage at the Bulgari Hotel in London as its local marquee player.
A touch of scrutiny hangs over this tournament, as it closes yet another window in the international cricketing schedule, with domestic T20 competitions being pencilled in diaries faster than international series.
De Villiers said that playing in these kinds of tournaments is ‘life-changing’, and the younger players who expressed their interest in the tournament will benefit substantially from rubbing shoulders with world-class players.
‘Franchise cricket is really important; the IPL changed my life completely,’ said De Villiers on the eve of the Proteas’ three-match T20 series against England. ‘It upped my skills as a player as a youngster getting to play with some of my heroes. To get to play in that kind of tournament now in South Africa is an unbelievable opportunity for some of our young talent. I’m very excited.’
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De Villiers did admit, however, that a balance needs to be struck between these tournaments and the international cricket boards, in order to keep the international version of the format, and indeed international cricket as a whole, relevant.
‘We don’t play a lot of them (international T20 series), so it’s important for the ICC to strike that balance with the franchise T20 tournaments,’ he said.
‘I don’t think it can rival the IPL, certainly not in the next five years,’ he continued. ‘But the other tournaments definitely, and entertainment-wise definitely; the crowd will get right behind it. The T20 Global League will be well supported because it’s a great place to play cricket in.
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