‘SA20 blessed to have six of the strongest IPL franchises’

NEW DELHI: With a highly successful second season of

SA20

coming to a conclusion last week, tournament commissioner

Graeme Smith

on Tuesday said that the league is blessed to have six of the strongest IPL franchises.
Smith acknowledged that the expertise of the IPL franchises have significantly contributed to the success of the country’s domestic T20 league.

MI Cape Town

,

Joburg Super Kings

,

Durban’s Super Giants

,

Paarl Royals

,

Pretoria Capitals

and Sunrisers Eastern Cape are the six franchises in SA20, all of which are owned by the owners of IPL teams.
“We’re very blessed to have six IPL franchises — the six of the strongest franchises in the world game. They bring a lot of expertise on several levels,” Smith said in a media interaction.

The 46-year-old has enjoyed a cordial relationship with the Indian board as well, both as a player and administrator, which has also helped the SA20.
“With my interactions with India and Indian cricket, we (SA20) certainly always reach out and have conversations and learn in debates. We have a very strong relationship which is a positive for us.”
The second season of SA20 concluded last week with Sunrisers Eastern Cape defeating Durban’s Super Giants to successfully defend their title. Like the first season, the second one was also a huge success, as it witnessed an increase in viewership.

“The cricket was outstanding to watch. All the cricket stats improved dramatically. The numbers are up commercial, broadcast viewership numbers.
“Building into the season a lot of people were saying, ‘Where you hit for one-hit wonder?’. No, we’re not, we’ve established ourselves, that is a very strong league now.”
The league has also been able to tap into local talent and that augers well with the national team which is gearing up for the T20 World Cup, according to Smith.
“We’ve seen, the South African players get better. There’s a stronger crop of players now available for selection for the Proteas, I’m going to be very interested to see you know, what type of squad they put together for the World Cup now.”
This year’s SA20 clashed with South Africa’s Test tour of New Zealand, where a second-string side is taking part, a move criticised by many in the cricket fraternity.
Smith said that the league is working with Cricket South Africa to ensure that such a conflict doesn’t happen again but added that SA20 will continue with the January-Febraury window.
“It should never have happened with the conflicts. But we will work together with Cricket South Africa to make sure that that doesn’t happen again.
“We’ve been quite kind of upfront that, January-February window for us is where cricket South Africa identified us, from a summer perspective, the best place to be but you’ve always got to reflect and see what the challenges are in, in the world game.”
(With inputs from PTI)

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