SA20 happens at an Ideal time for SA Cricket: De Villiers

Former Proteas player claims League will expose young players.

Wednesday, December 28: The legendary Proteas player AB de Villiers thinks the Betway SA20 is just what South African cricket needs.

An explosive start to South African cricket’s newest league will be provided by the opening local derby between MI Cape Town and Paarl Royals on Tuesday, January 10 at Newlands. The inaugural League will feature six newly-formed teams.

De Villiers, who has participated in the Indian Premier League (IPL) since it began in 2008, believes the SA20 will provide cricket in South Africa the push it needs.

“I believe the Betway SA20 will benefit South African cricket greatly. We have witnessed the incredible things that these leagues have accomplished for cricket in particular countries, said De Villiers.

The goal is to provide our young players with this foundation and exposure to the top players in the world at the highest level.

Dewald Brevis, a rising star at the plate for MI Cape Town, is one of the young players who De Villiers will be closely monitoring.

Since making his debut at the ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cup earlier this year, when he broke Shikhar Dhawan’s run-scoring record for the competition, the 19-year-old has been a revelation.

Later, he continued to play well in the IPL, the Caribbean Premier League, and most memorably in Cricket South Africa’s T20 Challenge, where he scored 162 runs off just 57 balls.

De Villiers thinks Brevis’ development will be immensely benefited by playing alongside England’s T20 World Cup champions Sam Curran and Liam Livingstone, much as he did when he initially entered the IPL in 2008 and learned from weathered veterans like Australian superstar Glenn McGrath.

“For me and a lot of the other players, it was a significant moment. The IPL’s debut altered our lives. The love of cricket among the populace is very strong. They support players on other teams in addition to the home team”, according to De Villiers.

“The people I met are what I remember most about my trip. Glenn McGrath and the time I spent with him come to mind. He was a tough guy, and then one day I found myself drinking beer with him in the locker room.”

De Villiers also had nothing but admiration for Graeme Smith, his former captain of the South African squad, who, in his capacity as the commissioner of the Betway SA20 League, has made sure that the country now has a T20 league that can compete with the finest in the world.

“Graeme and I have come a long way together,” he added. “To have him at the forefront of SA cricket right now, making a lot of smart calls, and altering things, is a great feeling.”

The Betway SA20 is a… Without him, his connections, and his experience, I don’t think that would have been feasible. We all owe Graeme a sincere thank you for introducing this significant competition to SA, in my opinion.

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