Give EL more top-class fare

Daily Dispatch - - Opinion | Letters To The Editor -

THE aborted T20 Global League is set to be res­ur­rected this year. This week Cricket SA named the venues that will host the com­pe­ti­tion next month. Hope­fully the prob­lems dog­ging the ini­tia­tive pro­posed last year by former chief ex­ec­u­tive Ha­roon Lor­gat will be re­solved.

The idea for such a tour­na­ment, much like the In­dia Premier League with all its razzmatazz and swash­buck­ling bat­ting dis­plays by the world’s top cricket stars, was well re­ceived by the cricket fra­ter­nity.

It was felt that if there was buy-in from all the stake­hold­ers – the over­seas-based play­ers, cor­po­rate world and the fans – it was bound to be a win­ner.

Pity, it did not pan out like that when CSA found they bit off more than they could chew as the cost pro­jec­tions were out of sync with their cal­cu­la­tions and it was moth­balled.

Lor­gat did not fac­tor in a num­ber of is­sues re­lat­ing to fran­chise own­ers, com­pen­sa­tion for play­ers, the TV rights and the pub­lic­ity costs in­volved.

Un­der new CEO Tha­bang Moroe the league will be back in a re­vamped form and ex­pected to blast-off next month.

The short form of the sport has been widely em­braced by the fans who en­joy its short du­ra­tion and explosive fin­ishes. This week the T20 be­tween the Proteas and Zim­babwe at East Lon­don’s Buf­falo Park il­lus­trated that specif­i­cally.

If any­thing it shows that peo­ple in this neck of the woods love their cricket.

But here’s a thing. The Global League will be played at six venues in­clud­ing Port El­iz­a­beth’s St Ge­orge’s Park and yet again no Buf­falo Park.

East Lon­don loses out again. This past cricket sea­son, we only had two in­ter­na­tion­als – Bangladesh and Zim­babwe – staged here.

The ar­gu­ment about venue size, pop­u­la­tion and ac­com­mo­da­tion costs can no longer be in­hibitive fac­tors and sim­ply does not wash any longer.

Turnout for War­riors’ matches proves there is a hunger for com­pet­i­tive cricket. Over the years CSA ad­vo­cated the need to grow the sport in this province. It is the home of two of the coun­try’s finest prod­ucts – fast bowler Makhaya Ntini and wicket-keeper Mark Boucher.

The young­sters of No­mandi Pri­mary School from Port St Johns were part of the Proteas buildup to the Zim­babwe clash. Their prin­ci­pal Joseph Nqasa put it thus: “it was won­der­ful and one (ex­pe­ri­ence) they will never ever for­get”.

That should give CSA food for thought and per­haps it can fi­nally do right by Buf­falo Park.

The league will be played at six venues in­clud­ing Port El­iz­a­beth’s St Ge­orge’s Park and yet again no Buf­falo Park

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