“It is yet another indication of the SA20’s ambitions to positively influence South African cricket,” league commissioner Graeme Smith says.
The SA20 league’s inaugural season will have a total prize purse of Rand 70 million (upwards of USD 4 million). That, as a CSA media statement said, is “the biggest prize pool in the history of South African franchise cricket”.
SA20 commissioner Graeme Smith stated, “In the first season of Betway SA20, we worked hard to provide a rewarding and unprecedented incentive. This is a first for South African cricket; we have never had this type of competitive incentive in our domestic cricket, and it demonstrates SA20’s ambitions to positively impact South African cricket.”
The tournament will run from January 10 to February 11, with the first game taking place at Newlands in Cape Town between MI Cape Town and Paarl Royals, and the final taking place at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. In just over a month, 33 matches will be played across South Africa, including two round-robin leagues, two semi-finals, and the final.
The six teams in the competition are all owned by groups that own IPL teams: The owners of the MI Cape Town and Paarl Royals are Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals, respectively, while the others are Johannesburg Super Kings (Chennai Super Kings), Pretoria Capitals (Delhi Capitals), Durban Super Giants (Lucknow Super Giants), and Sunrisers Eastern Cape (Sunrisers Hyderabad).
Smith has previously stated that he hoped the SA20 would do for South African cricket what the IPL did for Indian cricket in terms of creating a pool of players.
“I think what we want to create in this league is that there’s a lot of talent – hopefully we can develop that talent to play under pressure on a global stage,” he said earlier this month at an event in Mumbai. “I know I keep talking about the IPL but you look at the number of strong cricketers that have come through in the IPL.
“Looking at trying to find 15 players, hopefully, there will be 25-35 players at a level where the selectors’ jobs will be extremely difficult. Those who are used to playing big games have been exposed to big games. Unfortunately, South Africa will have to deal with these questions until they win a [global] tournament.”