Thabang Moroe: There's no league in South Africa until we kick off

“This league is different from the last. The six teams will be selected through an independent draft,” Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO, Thabang Moroe, tells Sportstar.

Thabang Moroe, has, now, committed to staging the T20 league, later, this year.   -  Twitter @OfficialCSA

Last year, when Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced the T20 Global League, it drew a huge response from investors across the globe.

From India, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta bought teams. Even the GMR Group, which owns the Delhi Daredevils, got a franchise.

But, with the CSA unable to strike a broadcast deal, the league was postponed. While this led to speculations on whether the league will actually see the light of the day, CSA, under its new CEO, Thabang Moroe, has committed to staging the league later this year.

The tournament, however, will be structurally different from its predecessor and will have a new name.

The newly-appointed CEO makes it clear that it will feature six franchises — two less than the earlier one — and there will be an independent draft process. "This league is different from the last. The six teams will be selected through an independent draft," Moroe tells Sportstar. He has also clarified that the "process (of selecting the franchises) will be concluded soon."

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The T20 Global League, which is considered a brainchild of former CSA CEO, Haroon Lorgat, faulted because of a lack of a broadcast sponsor. After Lorgat’s exit, CSA — under Moroe — has reportedly partnered with SuperSport to resuscitate the tournament.

"There’s no league in South Africa until we kick off. Keep your eyes glued to the screens and you will know what our strategy is, soon after deployment," Moroe says.

Last year, when the franchises were named, some of the former cricketers from South Africa were hired as coaches or mentors by various franchises. Now that there will be a whole new tournament, what happens to the previous appointments?

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"There are quite a few, but I’m not at liberty to talk about those (at the moment)," Moroe says, without explaining further.

After the T20 Global League was shelved last year, the investors across the globe found themselves in the middle of nowhere. Even now, the original owners are not sure where they stand with the new product.

To make sure that the league works out, the CSA administrators met with the officials of Stellenbosch and Daredevils in Mumbai on Saturday. Prior to that, they met the owners of another franchise, Zalmi, in Dubai to discuss the way forward.

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So, it must have been quite a challenge for the CSA to start from the scratch again? Moroe, however, begs to differ. "Which challenges you are referring to?" he questions.

Ask him whether the CSA has found itself in a spot and lost a bit of its brand reputation after the league was postponed last year, Moroe is quick enough to reply, "CSA is a very strong brand."

He also adds that the Board will issue a statement mentioning the date for the drafts soon. "Our release will inform all the details," he says.

At a time when most of the cricket boards have their own franchise-based leagues, it will be interesting to see what strategy the CSA takes to make the new league work.

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