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After two unsuccessful attempts, Cricket South Africa (CSA) is again seeking to replicate the success of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with SA20, said Graeme Smith, former South African cricketer and commissioner of the new T20 league.

Smith, who is in India to sign a 10-year broadcast deal worth $100 million with Reliance-backed Viacom18 for the new T20 league, said CSA needed a product to help build and strengthen South African cricket commercially and from a cricketing perspective.

“This league is going to help achieve that," Smith said in an interview. “IPL is the most fantastic league in the world, and if we look at the attention players like Surya Kumar Yadav have suddenly started getting, we want to pull something like that off in South Africa. So, we are hoping that the Indian fans will get behind and support us here, too," he added.

In its first attempt, CSA launched T20 Global League in 2017, but it fell through with the board failing to secure a broadcast partner or title sponsor. It was followed by the Mzansi Super League, running for two seasons, before being disrupted due to the covid pandemic.

CSA hired Sunder Raman, the former chief operating officer of IPL, to help establish SA20. Raman has a 12.5% share in the league.

“He is very crucial to setting up of the tournament. It was fantastic to have a relationship with both Board of Control for Cricket in India and some former people who played crucial roles in IPL. His involvement has been crucial in helping lay the foundations of the T20 league," Smith said.

Learning from its previous mistakes, CSA has decided to focus on key cricket-viewing markets like the Indian subcontinent and the UK for the league’s success.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Varuni Khosla

Varuni Khosla is a journalist with close to 14 years of experience in writing business news stories for mainstream newspaper companies like Mint and The Economic Times. She reports and writes on luxury and lifestyle brands, hospitality and tourism news, the business of sports, the business of advertising and marketing and alcohol brands.
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