Haroon Lorgat: 'T20 has taken front stage'

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has decided to give its domestic players a chance to be part of a big home T20 league titled "T20 Global Destination League".

"We need our players to aspire to play in the big league; that was something lacking in South Africa.", said Lorgat, chief executive of CSA.   -  S. Subramanium

Enthused by the huge success of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in which many South African players have become stars, Cricket Australia’s Big Bash and other successful T20 leagues around the world, Cricket South Africa (CSA) has decided to give its domestic players a chance to be part of a big home T20 league titled "T20 Global Destination League".

The tournament will be held in the last quarter of this year with 30 slots reserved for overseas players.

Talking to 'Sportstar' from South Africa on Thursday, Haroon Lorgat, chief executive, CSA said: "If you look at the way T20 leagues have taken front stage around the world, our domestic T20 league does not have a global profile. And so we were very keen to re launch a brand new league as it would meet global expectations.

"We need our players to aspire to play in the big league; that was something lacking in South Africa. We are quite excited by the new league. But it will not replace the Ram Slam which will remain a low profile pure domestic league."

Responding to a question on how CSA would put integrity mechanisms in place following the suspension of a few Pakistan players in the ongoing PSL, Lorgat said: "I think we will be naive to think that we cannot be vigilant with respect to any corrupt activities. We will adopt a zero tolerant approach.

"We will stop at nothing for the tournament to have the integrity that we want to have. We have proved that in the past and we would continue to be vigilant."

The CSA has identified eight-city based franchise teams; three from the Johannesburg-Pretoria area, two from the Cape Town-Stellenbosch area, Durban, Port Elizabeth and one more city.

"We have floated a global tender and we are quite excited by the response we have got from the USA, UK, Middle East and India. There has been a number of enquiries from South Africa as well. We would like to have some overseas and some local ownership. All eight teams are open for all prospective franchises," said Lorgat.

For almost ten years, the IPL has been trying to impress upon the ICC to award a window so that all international players can come into the auction and play the tournament.

CSA’s ambitious league can never hope to get a window because domestic tournaments of India, Australia will be in full swing. In this regard Lorgat explained: "We understand the primacy of international cricket, we are not looking for a specific window. It will be a domestic global league.

"We understand not everyone will be available, so we will invite international players who would be available, and there are enough players around the world who could make the league. Also our South African players are super stars in their own right. All of them would be available."

Lorgat admitted that T20 leagues are turning out to be a big hit, many players have come through the T20 format and that it would be a challenge for the administrators to get the equity right.

"T20 is hugely attractive with new audiences. I still believe it can co-exist with the other formats. Yes, it is true that T20 is extremely exciting. Look at David Warner, it can work. And now he is one among the best players in Test match cricket.

"It’s a great challenge to get the equity for Test and T20 cricket. FICA is also keen on addressing this. It’s a challenge for the administrators to compensate the players equitably for all formats of the game."