‘Will make sure it never happens’: Graeme Smith on SA20 clash with Test schedule | Cricket

The second season of the SA20 league ended last week with Sunrisers Eastern Cape beating Durban’s Super Giants and securing a second consecutive title. The season witnessed a significant rise in viewership and sell out crowds across stadiums while also featuring a number of young uncapped domestic talent. League commissioner and former captain Graeme Smith stated that the season achieved the goals that had been set up in the beginning.

Smith said that SA20 will be largely sticking to the same window and will work with CSA to avoid schedule clashes in the future(Getty Images)
Smith said that SA20 will be largely sticking to the same window and will work with CSA to avoid schedule clashes in the future(Getty Images)

“I think we achieved all our goals. It will take us some time to collate all the data but halfway through the tournament, all numbers were up. In particular, the cricket was outstanding this year with teams getting more competitive,” said Smith, who is regarded as one of the greatest South African captains of all time.

Discover the thrill of cricket like never before, exclusively on HT. Explore now!

“When you look at the cricket stats, everything improved and that is what we wanted. We want the league to get stronger and the cricket to be as competitive as possible. I think the thing that I will always be grateful for is the support from the public. The people who turn on their televisions and come to the stadiums, the vibrancy of the league. The feedback we have been receiving has been extremely positive,” he said.

Among the major news points leading up to the league, though, was the fact that South Africa sent a second string team to New Zealand for a two-match Test series, with all of their major stars staying behind for the SA20. When asked about whether the league is going to stick to its present window despite the schedule clash, Smith admitted that it is something that should have never happened and the organisers will be working with Cricket South Africa (CSA) to avoid a situation like that in the future.

“It should never have happened. We will work together with Cricket South Africa to make sure that doesn’t happen again. We generally will always be in the same window and we will have to gather information around the international tournaments and will be working with CSA on scheduling,” said Smith. “So we have already started all of that and we will take a look at the window. We have been quite upfront. January-February window is where Cricket South Africa identified as the best place to be. But you have always got to reflect and see what the challenges are in the world game.”

I think we achieved all our goals. It will take us some time to colate all the data but halfway through the tournament, all numbers were up. In particular, the cricket was outstanding this year with teams getting more competitive. When you look at the cricket stats, everything improved and that is what we wanted. We want the league to get stronger and the cricket to be as competitive as possible. I think the thing that I will always be grateful for is the support from the public. The people who turn on their televisions and come to the stadiums, the vibrancy of the league. The feedback we have been receiving has been extremely positive.

‘Great to see the spirit of cricket back in South Africa’

Smith said that the biggest positive of the season for him was to see the number of people in the stadiums and the atmosphere that each match was greeted with. “We have to be honest that cricket lost its way slightly for a number of years in South Africa for a number of reasons, whether it was team performances or issues at CSA and for me it is great to see the spirit for cricket back,” said Smith.

The 43-year-old said that the league outperformed corresponding domestic leagues for rugby and football, two other immensely popular sports in South Africa.

“Rugby and football are popular at national team level but from a domestic-based tournament, we have been able smash numbers across the board and compete very well. We have actually done better than other sports over the same period. It is hugely positive. Just to see South African cricket back, to see youngsters coming for the games and the spirits of cricket back in South Africa, that is a bit of a goosebumps moment. We are well into the journey to get people to love the game here in South Africa again,” said Smith.

Read More

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by MonsterInsights