More than 30 international players have already been confirmed to feature in the new T20 league in South Africa.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that the six franchises in South Africa’s premier T20 league could sign players from a world-class pool of some of the best local and international cricketers.

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More than 30 international players have been signed and the number will increase as players enter the auction which will take place over the next few weeks. This is in addition to all the contract Proteas and domestic players who have taken part in the League.

However, Graeme Smith revealed that since the franchise owners of the new tournament also own the IPL teams, the Indian stars who have signed a contract are not expected.

“We have a great relationship with the BCCI and they are supporting us as we build our league. As of now, contracted Indian players are not cleared to play in foreign leagues outside the IPL,” said Smith, who was quoted as saying TimesLive.

“We want to make it a competitive league, and to have a competitive league you have to have players. We have worked hard to sign some global T20 superstars and combined with our world class SA players I have no doubt we will be able to deliver competitive and entertaining cricket.

“We have a rich player base that we are committed to investing in and growing.”

The six franchises will have a squad of 17 players who can pre-sign up to five players, including three international players, one Proteas player and one South African player who is not eligible for the auction.

“This is an important milestone for the League,” Smith commented. “Having world-class South African players playing with some of the best cricketers in the world makes for outstanding cricket. I am very excited about the young and upcoming talent in our cricket pipeline. They will be able to interact with some experienced and talented players, which will surely inspire and help them improve their own game.

“The League’s priority is to help strengthen our domestic cricket structures while providing an exciting and entertaining cricket spectacle,” Smith continued. “Our player rules have been carefully developed in consultation with the franchises and are all ready to go. We look forward to seeing how the teams fit in and how the franchises build their teams.”

Players from numerous countries have expressed interest in being a part of the League and are currently signing up for the 2023 season and beyond.

“We are delighted with the interest from the player community and are attracting players with the support of cricket boards. I look forward to welcoming players from all regions of the world to cricket,” Smith concluded.

Meanwhile, the open bidding process for T20 franchises, managed by Deloitte’s corporate finance division, has attracted more than 29 organizations that have expressed interest in owning a T20 franchise around the world. More than 10 venues were available for interested bidders to be franchised and all 10 of them received interest.

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The six successful bidders who will be part of this significant chapter in South African cricket are:

Venue, city Successful bidder
Newlands, Cape Town Reliance Industries Limited, owners of Mumbai Indians
Kingsmead, Durban RPSG Sports Private Limited, owners of Lucknow Super Giants
St George’s Park, Gkeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) Sun TV Network Limited, owners of Sunrisers Hyderabad
Wanderers, Johannesburg Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited, owners of Chennai Super Kings
Boland Park, Parl Royals Sports Group, owner of Rajasthan Royals
SuperSport Park, Pretoria JSW Sports co-owner of Delhi Capitals

All six successful bidders have extensive experience with franchises across multiple sports and in-depth knowledge of cricket through their involvement in the world’s premier T20 tournament, the Indian Premier League.

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The new T20 competition will take place early next year

Commenting on the selection process, Graham Smith said:

“We are very excited to welcome our new franchise owners to the South African league which will take place in January and February 2023. This is a truly exciting time for South African cricket; the huge interest shows that the country is still valued in the global cricket ecosystem.

“A robust bidding process was carried out to select the final six owners, the decision was made using a scorecard based on various criteria to ensure maximum professionalism, independence and objectivity in the process. I would like to thank Deloitte as our consultants for doing a very professional job in helping South African cricket find partners who add significant value to our game.

“The strong sporting experience of the respective owners and the global brands they manage will ensure that South African cricket and the industry as a whole will benefit from their expertise and resources as they bring stability and experience to the League.”

Fans will get the chance to watch cricketers, glimpse the next generation and experience the action first-hand when the festival kicks off early next year.

“We have already signed contracts with a number of leading international players, which will be announced shortly. Combined with our strong South African player base, fans and stakeholders can be confident that the new League will showcase exciting talent and skill,” concluded Smith.

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