Euro 2020 Special
 

Leading names linked with CSA: Top players set to star in new South African T20 league

Introduction

Although they are bound by strict confidentiality agreements, which forbids the franchises in the new Cricket South Africa (CSA) league from disclosing which players they have signed up, but details have begun to leak out anyway.

The direct acquisition of players has now ended and the rest of the rosters will be filled by auction.

 

What is the CSA?

The CSA is South Africa’s latest attempt to create a competition if not to rival the Indian T20 league, then to at least follow its blueprint for success. It will begin next January and there will be six franchises involved, based in the six cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), and Paarl.

The new league has yet to be officially named.

 

Indian owners

In a move not without local controversy, all six teams are owned by existing IPL franchises.

Mumbai Indians have acquired the Cape Town franchise and it will be named MI Cape Town. Meanwhile, the Chennai Super Kings have acquired the Johannesburg franchise, whilst the Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad have assumed ownership of the Pretoria and Gqerbeha franchises respectively. Lucknow Super Giants now own the franchise based in Durban, and, rounding out the list, are the Rajasthan Royals in Paarl.

There is also a degree of synergy between the two leagues. Whilst Indian players will not feature in the competition because of the BCCI’s continued ban on them playing in overseas leagues, a number of foreigners and South Africans have existing affiliations with Indian T20 league franchises.

It is not fanciful to imagine a future where a band of such players are permanently contracted to their Indian franchises and then are sub-contracted to various T20 leagues around the world.

 

The recruitment process so far

The new league asked each of the franchises to submit a list of five players who they have initially contracted for next year, with that list comprising one South African, three from overseas, and one uncapped player. Not more than two foreigners on that list can come from the same country.

 

South Africans who have signed

Faf du Plessis will be renewing his relationship with the Chennai Super Kings. He played for them for a decade – apart from the two years when they were banned from the Indian T20 league – but, when he was not retained at the end of the 2021 season, he was bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore instead ion the 2022 Player auction.

He will now feature as captain of the Johannesburg team.

Continuing the Indian T20 link, Anrich Nortje and Aiden Markram have been picked by the Pretoria and Gqeberha franchises respectively, whilst Quinton de Kock will represent Durban.

Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, meanwhile, will pull on the jersey of the Cape Town franchise.

 

Overseas players

The Mumbai Indians appear to have been the most aggressive so far in the “transfer” market, bringing in the England pair of Liam Livingstone and Sam Curran and Afghan all-rounder Rashid Khan, who was part of the title-winning Gujarat Titans side earlier this year.

Another all-rounder, Englishman Moeen Ali, is set to join du Plessis in Johannesburg. Ali had appeared in the list of marquee players for the UAE League (ILT20) which is being staged at the same time.

However, he is believed to prefer to spend that time in South Africa because it will have a higher profile -and presumably be more lucrative.

As leagues begin to proliferate, minor competitions might struggle for relevance and audiences. A similar thing has happened in football, where the top five European leagues, especially the Premier League, dominate the global landscape.

Rounding out the name of “leaked” overseas players in another Englishman Jos Buttler. The winner of the MVP and Orange Cap awards for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian T20 league this year, and it is no surprise that they have picked him for their Paarl franchise.

He and Livingstone are in the top salary bracket of US $500,000 apiece.

 

No Pakistan players

No Pakistan players have been included on the lists made public. Whilst it has been mooted that they would not be picked because of the Indian ownership of the franchises, the official explanation is that they have been precluded because of Pakistan’s international commitments and because the second half of the new league overlaps with the stat of the PSL (Pakistan Super League).

 

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