Details about Cricket SA’s new T20 global league are starting to emerge – albeit in dribs and drabs – as fans and cricketers alike wait anxiously for the inaugural SA20 player auction in Cape Town next week.
The auction – on September 19 – will run for six hours and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
It is expected to draw the who’s who of world cricket, as players and fans from South Africa and across the world tune in to find out which team will buy which players and how much they’ll pay.
The new league aims to become the second most lucrative in the world, behind India’s long-running and money-spinning Indian Premier League (IPL).
The league will have a strong IPL flavour, after six of the 10 franchises from the richest T20 leagues were confirmed as the owners of the six-team tournament.
The franchises will be based in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Paarl, Gqeberha and Pretoria.
The tournament is expected to start in the second week of January.
It has been reported in the Indian media that a total of 533 players from 18 countries have been enrolled on to the SA20 players’ registry for auction.
A huge chunk of that number (250) is reportedly made up of Proteas and non-Proteas players from across the country.
Player registrations closed a fortnight ago, with a positive show of interest from players around the world, and from established and young South African talent.
Graeme Smith, who is the former captain of the Proteas, is the SA20 commissioner.
He said that the final number of players who would go under the hammer would be finalised once the franchises had selected their bids.
Smith confirmed, however, that the base price would be R1.7 million, which means players will be sold from this amount upwards.
As for how the base price was determined, he said: “It is decided by the players themselves.”
The purse price is the money that franchises have available to them to buy the players they want. Smith said the purse price for each team would be $2 million (R34 million).
Asked how the players would get the money, meaning would they get the full amount they were bought for, he said: “There are many different clauses and regulations, which are confidential.”
The player retention rules are still to be confirmed.
How many players can a franchise buy?
“The squad size is a maximum of 17 and minimum of 15,” said Smith.
Of the 17 players, 10 must be South Africa-based. The maximum number of foreign players a team can have is four. All the six teams have already used their R34 million from their purse to sign up to five players each as part of the SA20 direct acquisition procedure.
What if players aren’t sold?
Smith said many players could go unsold, but they can be put in the “express/speed auction” at a later stage if they remain unsold after the first round.
However, teams will not be able to buy players after the auction ends.
Cricket SA is the majority shareholder of the league, with a 57.5% stake; pay-TV giant SuperSport owns 30% and former IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman – who is credited with guiding the new process – owns 12.5%.