In the last issue of SA Cricket magazine, we asked our team if the Global T20 League will be taken seriously by its marquee players.
Jon Cardinelli says YES
Why do we watch the Indian Premier League? The tournament boasts some of the best players in the game. How many times have we seen AB de Villiers or Chris Gayle break new ground in a competition where invention and audacity are encouraged in the name of entertainment? The T20 Global League has the potential to play host to similar spectacles.
While no Indian players will be involved, the tournament has managed to secure the signatures of some of the best cricketers on the planet. Gayle, Kevin Pietersen and Brendon McCullum will headline the international contingent, while local favourites De Villiers, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir have been listed as the South African marquee players.
The inclusion of these superstars will have other benefits for South African cricket. Since 2008, the IPL has given top players and coaches – some of whom compete against one another at international level – the opportunity to work together and exchange ideas. Many a Protea player and coach have come back from the IPL with a better understanding of an opposition’s approach or method. Local players in the IPL have also benefited from rubbing shoulders with the international elite. No doubt Gayle, Pietersen, McCullum and the Proteas who feature will make a similar impact on younger South African players competing in the league.
Gary Lemke says NO
The reason sport is as intoxicating as it is, is because people keep score. When one ceases to bother about who wins and who loses, it becomes entertainment. Which is all well and good, but let’s not call it sport. So, welcome to the inaugural T20 Global League – understandably hyped with the announcement of 16 ‘marquee’ players – eight South Africans and eight internationals.
Be sure to wear a crash helmet if you go to a stadium hosting matches near you, because this isn’t very much about cricket, but everything to do with entertainment and batsmen smashing the ball into various parts of the spectator seating. We’ve read how the marquee players will be coming to add their skills to the GL, but this is more like a Harlem Globetrotters roadshow than anything to be taken seriously as a cricket follower.
The ‘oldies’ are great mates off the field, and they will be tourists out to have loads of fun, with the actual cricket being a sideshow. The domestic marquee ‘youngsters’ will get in on the act, but no one will lose any sleep over any result. There’s nothing wrong with the cricket authorities and sponsors wanting to stir excitement and interest. It’s also an undeniable truth that some of the biggest interest in cricket annually in South Africa is when the Proteas ‘play’ the Springboks. This falls into that category.
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