Graeme Smith believes that SA20 will bring an end to South Africa’s racial inequality World Cup wait

Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher hope SA20, South Africa’s new franchise T20 competition, will help the national team finally win a World Cup.
“I actually thought we had a strong team at this World Cup in Australia, I thought we had a good chance,” said Smith, the SA20 commissioner, at an event in Mumbai. “But obviously disappointed with the way we finished. I think what we want to create in this competition is that there is so much talent – I hope we can develop that talent to play under pressure on a global stage.”

“I know I keep talking about the IPL, but look at the number of strong cricketers who have come through in the IPL,” said Smith. “When we look at finding 15 players, hopefully over the next few years there will be 25-35 players at a level where it makes the selector’s job very, very difficult. Those who are used to playing big games are exposed to big games. Unfortunately South Africa has to deal with these questions all the time until they actually win a tournament.”

South Africa have not won a Men’s World Cup in 16 attempts – eight ODI World Cups and eight T20 World Cups. Although they came close on a number of occasions in knockout matches, they failed to make the semifinals in five of the last six ICC white-ball events. In the 2022 T20 World Cup, South Africa lost their last group game to the Netherlands and failed to progress to the knockouts.

Boucher, whose tenure as South Africa’s head coach ended after the T20 World Cup, said the IPL – where he will now coach Mumbai Indians – was one of the reasons for India’s success in world tournaments. However, India has only won one World Cup – in 2011 – since the IPL began in 2008.

“There are reasons why you have World Cups in your cupboards,” said Boucher, speaking of India. “The reason is big stages, guys who play in finals and semis. The more you play those games, the better you get. This [SA20] will also be on the main stage. You will see young people. Guys will find themselves in situations they’re not used to and that’s going to be exciting to see who comes through. Once that happens, our coaches and selectors can check and select the guys needed for the big moments and the big events.”

However, South Africa’s direct qualification for the 2023 ODI World Cup is at stake. They are currently No. 11 in the Super League with just five games remaining, needing to win at least three to try and finish in the top eight teams to qualify directly for next year’s World Cup.

South Africa have won just five of their 16 Super League games so far, having lost three ODIs in Australia to have all their top players available for the start of SA20 in January.

Smith said South Africa had brought this situation on itself by playing “bad” cricket, and that at the time CSA had no choice but to prioritize the SA20. CSA CEO Pholetsi Moseki had also said earlier that the board risked pulling out of the series against Australia with a view to “secure the long-term sustainability of the game” in South Africa.

“I think South Africa’s World Cup qualification was bad because they played badly. I mean, they had a lot of time to get that under control,” said Smith. “I think in many ways this cancellation of three ODIs feels for Cricket South Africa because I know how much effort has gone into moving those three ODIs to open a window for the competition. The competition will have a window free of international cricket in South Africa, such as the IPL, for a period of each year.

“Australia never travels on Boxing Day or New Years. England is never away from home in the summer. It is unbelievable that South African cricket has still decided they will not earn any income this year because they are going to Australia for three Test matches. ” So I know they did their best with Cricket Australia to find a way to make those three ODIs work but it just wasn’t practical and in the end South African cricket had to make a choice… own league and it had to give it a chance and make a good statement that it would make it a success.”

South Africa has not played a celebratory series in Australia since 2008, for the reasons Smith mentioned. Former CSA CEO Gerald Majola negotiated in previous FTPs that South Africa would only tour Australia outside of the Christmas and New Year period to maximize earnings at home. This series was decided in the 2019-2023 FTP, which was drafted in the post-Majola era. Cricket South Africa will only host one incoming tour this season, against the West Indies, but will launch the SA20 this summer.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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