How will the Global T20 be different? Or will it?

Sunday Times


TELFORD VICE in Canterbury

WOULD you like your big hitters brown or white? Fast bowlers french fried? Some sauce on your spinners?

And do you want to supersize that to cover the cricket world?

Haroon Lorgat, Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive and the driving force behind the Global T20 league (GT20), reckons those questions have been answered.

“A lot of the different cultures one would have experienced in the past have changed,” Lorgat said at the GT20 launch in London.

“You find uniformity more now. You go to places and you see … McDonald’s. You look at global corporate companies, they’ve got a single culture. They’ve got synergies between different continents, different offices.

“We’re in a very singular kind of village now.”

The GT20, which will be played in November and December, is CSA’s answer to the T20 tsunami that has been sweeping the game since the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008. Similar tournaments exist in Australia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Caribbean.

So similar that it has become difficult to turn on your television and not see Chris Gayle pulverising bowlers in the colours of some invented franchise.

Or, as Ashwell Prince said, “We’re watching the same players in different jerseys go from here to there the whole year round.”

How, then, will the GT20 be different? Will it be different?

“We’ve tried to say to our Protea marquee players, ‘Your home base is your home base’,” Lorgat said. “Similarly, we’re going to try and get the international players to build an affinity with a particular team and not float about or change [teams] so frequently.

“It’s something we’re going to impress on the owners as well. But you can’t regulate all of that.

“We’ve said for the first two years, that’s how we want to do it. So we’ve fixed the marquee players to start building the fan base.

“I can see, maybe, in time to come, where owners have multiple teams, they’ll try to have the same players. Because that makes sense to them in terms of what they’ve got in their squads — the relationships they’re trying to build, the kind of cricket brand they’re trying to play.

“You can see that starting to filter into more uniformity.”

But Prince has a plan: “A player shouldn’t be allowed to sign for franchises in more than one league.

“Then he would have six weeks of the year to go and make his money, whether that be in the IPL or in South Africa or in the Big Bash.

“The rest of the time he can commit himself to his country.”

What a solid, meat-and-potatoes idea. Pity cricket prefers burgers these days.

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