The inaugural SA20 League began on January 10, Tuesday, in Cape Town, with a match between MI Cape Town and Paarl Royals. The Indian Premier League franchises own the six teams in the tournament. Joburg Super Kings will face Durban Super Giants, who are owned by IPL franchise Lucknow Super Giants, in their season opener on January 11 in Durban.
As the Joburg Super Kings, the franchise owned by the four-time champion Chennai Super Kings, prepare for their first match, assistant coach and former CSK all-rounder Albie Morkel said having tied to long-running organisations gives players and coaches confidence in their future success. Morkel spoke extensively about the tournament’s significance in South Africa ahead of the match, predicting that the inaugural SA20 league would grow to be one of the largest in the world.
“We have tried to launch a league in South Africa for the last few years but it has not been successful. Associations with teams like these guarantees longevity in terms of the tournament. It gives us players and coaches freedom of mindset that you have a couple of years to build something,” Albie Morkel was quoted as saying by the New Indian Express.
Faf du Plessis, who led the Chennai Super Kings for over a decade until the 2021 edition, will lead the Joburg Super Kings at the SA20. Despite the fact that CSK were unable to secure his services at the IPL 2022 mega auction and he eventually joined Royal Challengers Bangalore as their captain, they retained him for the South African tournament. Morkel believes Du Plessis is the right man to lead the side, adding:
“Chennai Super Kings has a strong culture, it is a team that has been very successful and we are hoping to replicate that in South Africa with Joburg Super Kings.”
“I think players will settle down a little bit more playing in all the big leagues” – Albie Morkel
“It is exciting for one, you know, it is not so good for national cricket as you have seen in the last couple of weeks you get guys that are sort of picked just to play in these leagues. Going forward, with all these leagues popping up, guys can start to pick and choose a little bit. I think once the bigger leagues sort of establish themselves and I firmly believe that SA20 league in future will be one of the biggest leagues,” Morkel added.
Morkel competed in a number of T20 tournaments prior to taking on the coaching role. He asserted that the sport is rapidly shifting toward franchise-based events, with a slew of new leagues springing up throughout the cricket season.
“I think players will settle down a little bit more playing in all the big leagues. Workload within that is difficult to manage especially if you have players who play in other formats, I don’t think it is possible for guys to play all the cricket within that you will see more and more players pick a route where they want to go,” Albie Morkel concluded.