The Mercury

Seventh franchise mooted for domestic Pro20

- Zaahier Adams

THE winds of change blowing through South African cricket will not be confined to the Proteas. Although Cricket South Africa’s executive board will convene this morning to complete the finer details in relation to the national team’s next coach, it is also expected to rubberstam­p the introducti­on of a “seventh franchise” solely for the domestic Pro20 series.

South Africa currently has six franchises – Cape Cobras, Warriors, Highveld Lions, Dolphins, Titans and Knights – competing in the one firstclass and two limited-overs competitio­ns.

However, with CSA already approving a new payment scheme where its current 11affiliat­e amateur competitio­n will be a semi-profession­al setup this coming season, the executive board could go one step further by accepting a proposal to form a team from this group of players to compete in the Pro20. It is a similar concept to the Unicorns in England, which is a team that was formed in 2010 made of up all players without current fulltime contracts with one of the regular first-class counties, and who play only in the limited-overs competitio­n.

South Africa also had a similar team competing in its domestic day-night series during isolation called the Impalas, which consisted of players from the “B” team unions.

It is understood at this stage that the side could play at the “second” venues of the traditiona­l franchises, such as Boland Park, Willowmoor­e Park in Benoni and Potchefstr­oom’s Sedgars Park.

A full coaching and management staff will most likely be assigned to the team, with Griquas’ Wendell Bossenger and Western Province’s Paul Adams and Vincent Barnes possibly at the helm.

One of the discussion points that could curtail its introducti­on, however, is the question of whether this team would qualify for the Champions League Twenty20.

Currently, the two franchises that reach the final are ensured of a place at the Champions League, which features the teams from across the world.

South Africa’s representa­tives at the third Champions League T20 set to be held in India from September 23 to October 9 are the Cobras and Warriors.

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